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Reconstructing RetirementWork and Welfare in the UK and USA$
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David Lain

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447326175

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447326175.001.0001

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Introduction: reconstructing retirement

Introduction: reconstructing retirement

(p.1) One Introduction: reconstructing retirement
Reconstructing Retirement

David Lain

Policy Press

This chapter provides an overview of the book and introduces the changing context of work and retirement in the UK and USA. It starts by reviewing explanations for the rise of early retirement up to the early 2000s. It then introduces the topic of employment after typical retirement age; this is harder to explain through existing models classifying both countries as liberal welfare states. It argues that the US has done more than the UK to promote employment beyond age 65, through a ‘self-reliance’ policy logic. The UK has adopted a more ‘paternalistic’ policy logic, focused on the provision of a safety net of means tested benefits. Reforms in both countries have, however, increased both the need and opportunities to work beyond age 65. The chapter finishes by summarising the empirical findings of the book, and highlighting the need for policies to support financial security and autonomy for older people.

Keywords:   employment beyond age 65, welfare states, USA, UK, autonomy, financial security, older people

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