The relationship between women’s work histories and incomes in later life in the UK, US and West Germany

Sefton, Tom, Evandrou, Maria, Falkingham, Jane and Vlachantoni, Athina (2011) The relationship between women’s work histories and incomes in later life in the UK, US and West Germany. Journal of European Social Policy, 21, (1), 20-36. (doi:10.1177/0958928710380475).


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Using data from several large-scale longitudinal surveys, this article investigates the relationship between the work histories and personal incomes (from both public and private sources) of older women in the UK, US and West Germany. By comparing three countries with different welfare regimes and pension systems, we seek to gain a better understanding of the interaction between the life course, pension system and women’s incomes in later life. The association between older women’s incomes and work histories is strongest in West Germany and weakest in the UK, where there is evidence of a ‘pensions poverty trap’ and where only predominantly full-time employment is associated with significantly higher incomes in later life. Work history matters less for widows (in all three countries) and more for recent birth cohorts and more educated women (UK only). The article concludes with a brief discussion of the treatment of women under different pension regimes assessed by the criteria of adequacy, proportionality, vertical equity and horizontal equity.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1177/0958928710380475
ISSNs: 0958-9287 (print)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Social Statistics
ePrint ID: 182857
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
23 March 2011Published
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2011 17:15
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:36
Centre for Population Change: Understanding Population Change in the 21st Century
Funded by: ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (RES-625-28-0001)
Led by: Jane Cecelia Falkingham
1 January 2009 to 31 December 2013

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