In recent decades many industrialized countries experienced a substantial decrease in the working age population as a proportion of the total population. Demographic factors, such as declining fertility and increasing life expectancy, as well as institutional factors, such as the generosity of state-funded pension, both determined a change in the age distribution and a marked anticipation in retirement age. A lively debate among researchers and policymakers is currently taking place in Europe, as there are concerns that working longer may not be healthy for workers, or that it will be hard for older workers to get a job. Conversely, if working longer leads to higher employment rates and better health conditions, policies aimed at increasing peoples' retirement age may represent a “win-win” strategy both in terms of fiscal policies as well as in terms of healthy life expectancy. Unfolding this controversy is essentially an empirical matter which is also of paramount importance for public policy. In this study we first review the main findings of the socio-economic literature. Second, we highlight the main research avenues that are currently investigated in the area of Social Science and Health Economics at the Universitá Cattolica. Finally we discuss the policy implications and the prospects for future research.
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