The effect of partner and household characteristics on the continued employment of coupled olderwomen in England.

  • Jennifer Prattley

Student thesis: Phd


The economic wellbeing, physical and mental health of the ageing population in theUnited Kingdom is associated with continued participation in the labour force. Encouraginglater life employment is therefore a key policy issue. Research into older person's employmenttrajectories is concentrated on male working patterns, and often takes an individualisticapproach that does not account for the domestic context. Previous research on women'slabour force participation has been informed by small scale qualitative studies that do considerthe household domain but these findings cannot be generalized to the wider population.This research investigates the factors associated with the continued employment of womenaged 50 to 59 using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Transitionrates out of employment between 2001 and 2011 are modeled using multilevel discrete timeevent history specifications that permit the inclusion of time varying covariates. Retirementis characterized as an ageing process which allows the impact of predictors on transitionrates to be assessed and measured as women approach state pension age. Alternative timestructures are considered, with parameter estimates from an age baseline model comparedwith those from a time on study specification. Results illustrate the sensitivity of parameterestimates in discrete time event history models to the measurement of time, and emphasizethe importance of adopting a time metric that is commensurate with the theoretical representation of retirement as a dynamic ageing process.The domestic context is realised as sampled women and their male partners are positionedwithin a household structure, and asymmetric effects of predictors on the transition rate ofeach gender are considered. Own poor health, caring responsibilities and a retired or inactivespouse accelerate labour market exit for women whilst high levels of accrued pension wealthpredict earlier transitions for their male partners. The age of employment exit for femalesis independent of pension wealth, but pension resources do predict the retirement pathwaytaken following any transition that does occur. Women residing in the wealthiest householdsare more likely to report as voluntary retired prior to state pension age whilst those in thepoorest of couples are at higher risk of following an involuntary pathway into an alternativeinactive state. These findings emphasize the importance of conducting research into later lifeemployment trajectories on a household, rather than individual, basis.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorTarani Chandola (Supervisor), Johan Koskinen (Supervisor) & Bram Vanhoutte (Supervisor)


  • Retirement
  • Discrete time event history
  • English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

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