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Policies to extend working life: implications for gender, ageing and precarious work (GENDOWL)
Start date: 01 Feb 2015, End date: 31 Jan 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The proposed project is a cross-national comparative qualitative analysis of the impact on older workers in Ireland and the United States of policies introduced to extend working lives; it will focus on gender, precarious work, health and the impact of the global recession. Demographic ageing poses a formidable policy challenge for governments in western countries and will do so for the foreseeable future (OECD, 2012). There is a need for increased pension provision as workers live longer after retirement. This has major implications for budget allocation and labour market policies. In response to this, governments, including Ireland and the U.S. have moved, rather swiftly, to introduce new policies designed to extend working life, such as increasing state pension age, and allowing flexibility to work beyond retirement age. However, the consequences of such change for individuals are not well understood. To inform the policy process, several kinds of unanswered questions regarding the implications of such policies for peoples’ lives urgently need to be addressed. This project proposes to investigate the experiences, decision-making and outcomes for older workers in Ireland and the United States, in relation to recently-introduced policies designed to extend people’s working lives. This study will use an innovative lifecourse methodology to compare the experiences of workers around retirement age in the U.S. and Ireland, using interviews with 120 men and women (60 per country). A special feature of this project is its internationally comparative dimension, through which the experiences of Irish and American older workers will be compared
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