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The effect of employment on the subjective well-being of 60–80 years old people

Hila Axelrad (Tiomkin School of Economics, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Herzliya, Israel)
Arie Sherman (Department of Economics, Ruppin Academic Center, Emek Hefer, Israel)
Israel Luski (Department of Economics, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 3 November 2020

Issue publication date: 13 November 2020




The current study investigates the association of employment at older age (60–80 years ) with the cognitive component of subjective well-being (SWB): life satisfaction.


Out of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), the present study’s sample included 58,197 observations of participants aged 60–80 years from 18 countries. The authors estimate the direct effects of employment and number of working hours on life satisfaction while considering the characteristics of the job and their impact.


Results reveal that individuals who do not work enjoy a higher level of life satisfaction and so do those who work in developing jobs. Work under pressure reduces the level of SWB and working in physically demanding jobs has no significant impact on SWB. The results confirm previous findings regarding the positive contribution of self-employment to individuals’ SWB.


The results allow policy makers to implement policy measures that can improve older workers' SWB.



This paper uses data from SHARE waves 2, 4, 5 and 6 (DOIs: 10.6103/SHARE.w2.600, 10.6103/SHARE.w4.600, 10.6103/SHARE.w5.600, 10.6103/SHARE.w6.600), see Börsch-Supan et al. (2013) for methodological details. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through FP5 (QLK6-CT-2001–00360), FP6 (SHARE-I3: RII-CT-2006–062193, COMPARE: CIT5-CT-2005–028857, SHARELIFE: CIT4-CT-2006–028812) and FP7 (SHARE-PREP: N°211909, SHARE-LEAP: N°227822, SHARE M4: N°261982). Additional funding from the German Ministry of Education and Research, the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science, the US National Institute on Aging (U01_AG09740–13S2, P01_AG005842, P01_AG08291, P30_AG12815, R21_AG025169, Y1-AG-4553–01, IAG_BSR06–11, OGHA_04–064, HHSN271201300071C) and from various national funding sources is gratefully acknowledged (see


Axelrad, H., Sherman, A. and Luski, I. (2020), "The effect of employment on the subjective well-being of 60–80 years old people", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 47 No. 12, pp. 1481-1497.



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