Belgium is characterised by one of the lowest employment rates of elderly workers in the European Union. Since 1997, attempts have been made to discourage elderly workers from leaving the labour market before the age of 65. In particular, two measures aimed at reducing early retirement have been introduced. The first extends the number of career years required to enter early retirement. The second, called "pension bonus", financially stimulates elderly workers to pursue employment after the age of 62. This paper provides an ex-post evaluation of the impact of these two measures on the probability of remaining employed a year later using a difference-in-differences strategy. Our data consists of individual longitudinal employment data covering the period 2000-2009. Using panel data logit models, we find first that the extension of the career length requirement had a significant impact on the probability of staying employed a year later for blue collar and low income white collar male workers aged 60-61 compared to those aged 62-64 during the period 2000-2006. Our second exercise proceeds to estimate the impact of the "pension bonus" during the period 2004-2009, in the presence of the extension of the career length requirement. Comparing the two exercises allows us to conclude that the "pension bonus" had, if any, a very limited impact on the probability of staying employed a year later for male workers aged 62-64 compared to those aged 60-61.
The long-term demographic projections have progressively raised concerns about the consequences of ageing population. To better understand those changes and measure their size,projections of social expenditure have been built and progressively refined. Confronted with a large budgetary cost of ageing in the long run, the Government’s alternative is: solve the problemwhen it comes up or try to anticipate the negative results and prevent them. Three ways are to be considered that are not mutually incompatible: reforming the social system in order to reduce the cost for the present and future generations, increasing the tax or contribution receipts by pushing up employment rates and the trend growth of GDP and saving now in the public sector to cover the increase of the future expenditure. The paper shows that, since the end of the nineties, a broad movement of reforms has taken place in the EU which involves this three-pronged strategy.