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To sustain the welfare state, several EU countries agreed to take measures aimed at increasing the labor market participation of older workers (European Commission 2001). In this study, we developed a framework integrating individual, work, and institutional characteristics in order to explain the labor market participation of older workers. While prior studies focused mainly on individual characteristics, the present analysis investigated the impact of work and institutions more closely using the European Social Survey. Multilevel analyses across 21 countries showed that work characteristics increased the benefits from work, hence increasing the likelihood of participation among older workers, and that the generosity of institutions discouraged older workers to remain in the labor market.
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