‘Extended working lives, inequality and well-being: evidence from the UK’ with Dr Laurie Corna

Past Event

11 May 2017, 3:00pm - 4:30pm

Oxford Institute of Population Ageing
66 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PR

This event is organised by the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing


Increases to average life expectancy, declining fertility, and the movement of the ‘baby-boom’ cohorts into the traditional retirement years, have all fuelled concerns about individual financial wellbeing in later life and the sustainability of public pensions. The response—implemented in various forms and to varying degrees cross-nationally—involves packages of reforms that limit or close alternative early labour market exit pathways (e.g., via disability pensions) and increase the age at which individuals become eligible for a public pension. However, the emphasis on the promised ‘double dividend’ of longer working lives –greater personal income for the individual and postponed reliance on public pension schemes—has obscured attention from how these changes have the potential to exacerbate existing disparities and generate new forms of inequality, including health and financial inequality. In this presentation, I present findings from the Wellbeing, Health, Retirement and the Life Course (WHERL) project, which assesses the life course determinants and consequences for health and wellbeing of working up to and beyond the state pension age, and whether (and how) these relationship have changed across cohorts. This research uses data from the British Household Panel Survey, Understanding Society, the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing and the British Retirement Surveys.

About the Speaker

Dr Laurie Corna is a Lecturer in the Sociology of Ageing in the Institute of Gerontology and Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London. After completing her PhD in the Social Science and Health Program in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in 2011, she continued her research in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Laurie joined King’s in January of 2013.

Laurie’s research is principally concerned with better understanding health and economic inequalities among older adults in the context of the life course and in comparative perspective. She is a Co-Investigator on a three year MRS-ESRC funded consortium across five institutions on the impact of extending paid work in later life on health and wellbeing. The research examines how inequalities across the life course relate to paid work in later life in the UK, as well as the consequences of paid work and retirement for health. Laurie is also a Co-Investigator on two projects funded by the Canadian government that assess the health implications of the push to keep older adults in the labour market longer in cross-national perspective (funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) and how changing patterns of labour market engagement in later life influence economic inequalities among older women (funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada).