The Effect of an Increase of the Retirement Age on the Health, Well-Being, and Labor Force Participation of Older Workers: a Systematic Literature Review

Patrick Pilipiec*, Wim Groot, Milena Pavlova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)


To sustain a viable public pension system, many governments have increased the statutory retirement age and delayed the age of entitlement to public pension benefits. This systematic literature review investigates the empirical evidence on the effects of increasing the retirement age on the health, well-being, and labor force participation of older workers. Optimized and broad search queries were used to search for empirical evidence in four databases: EconLit, PsycINFO, PubMed, and SocINDEX. The systematic literature search was conducted in May 2019. Snowballing was performed on the reference lists of the publications to find additional studies. The quality of the included studies was also examined. The PRISMA guidelines were used to guide this systematic literature review. Nineteen studies were included in this review. Twelve studies estimated the effect of an increase in the statutory retirement age, and seven studies examined working beyond the retirement age. The reported findings were classified into health-related outcomes, well-being, and the effects on labor force participation and the perception of the retirement age. The reported findings regarding health-related outcomes and well-being were not comparable. The increase of the retirement age has increased labor force participation among older workers and has increased the preferred and expected retirement age in the direction of the public pension reform. However, evidence on the effects of an increase of the retirement age on the health and well-being of older workers remains scarce and inconclusive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-315
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Population Ageing
Issue number2
Early online date6 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Health
  • Job satisfaction
  • Labor force participation
  • Public pension reform
  • Statutory retirement age
  • Well-being

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