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Over the past years, older persons’ workforce participation has increased and, after years of studying early retirement, the focus has gradually shifted to workforce participation between age 60 and 70 years. Those are the years directly below and above the mandatory retirement age in most of the European countries. We investigate the influence of socio-economic status (SES) on older persons’ workforce participation. Moreover, we study whether the importance of private pensions in a country modifies the effect of SES. Survey data from eleven European countries are analysed in multilevel analyses. Results show that paid work in old age is the domain of persons with high SES. Moreover, a high share of private pensions in a country diminishes the influence of occupational prestige on men’s workforce participation. This suggests that older persons with low SES deserve particular attention in labour market reforms. Additionally, it suggests that pension reforms be monitored concerning their effects on social inequalities.
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