Policies for longer working lives: understanding interactions with health and care responsibilities

Lead Research Organisation: Institute for Fiscal Studies
Department Name: IFS Research Team

Abstract

In recent decades, the proportion of older people in the United Kingdom who are in paid work has been steadily rising. In 2000, 60% of 50-64 year olds were employed and by 2015, 70% of them were. The proportion of people aged 65 and over in paid employment has doubled over the same period, from around 5% to 10%. Growth in the size of the older population over this period means the increases in the numbers of older individuals in paid work are even greater. With an ageing population, and policy reforms that are encouraging people to remain in work longer, it is important to understand the broader effects of longer working lives on the older population. Our research focuses on two important factors related to longer working lives.
The first is the effect on health. Do people who work longer into their 60s have lower health because of their extended working life? Or does work (and the income associated with it) allow people to live healthier, more active lives? This question is hard to answer because simply observing that workers are healthier/less healthy than non-workers tells us little about the causal effect of work on health. Health and employment can be related in a complicated way. The fact of working may improve or worsen a person's health. But, at the same time, people may be less likely to work if they are already unwell: for example because pain prevents them from doing the job they used to, or want to, do.
Our research will look directly at the effect of working longer on health by using a reform which increased the employment of older workers, without having any direct effect on health. This reform was the increase in the state pension age for women.
The second factor that we will examine is the interaction between work and caring, using a model that incorporates a large range of factors that affect the health, income and wealth of the older population. We will use this to understand the factors affecting the need for and receipt of social care (informal care, publicly-funded formal care, and privately-funded formal care). We will also model the supply of informal care - that is, who provides care, and how much they provide (in terms of number of hours per week). We will then use the model to understand the interaction between people's decisions to be in paid work and the decision to provide informal care.
Underlying all the research that we do will be the idea of how the effects of working lives can differ for different people, and how they might reinforce or ameliorate existing inequalities in health and income. This means we will not only look at the effect of longer working lives on one type of health, but a range of measures, and understand the behaviours that might have positive or negative impacts on health. We will look at the groups of the population that might be affected differently. In terms of care, we can see whether it is particular types of people who are in greater need of care, and who end up providing care, in particular the differences by income and sex.
All of the research outlined in this proposal is being undertaken in parallel with researchers in France, Germany and Denmark. Together we form one consortium. Our European partners are also academic researchers who have intricate knowledge of the public policies affecting older people in their countries. By studying similar questions in each country, we will be able to increase our understanding of these issues by examining behaviour and outcomes in different policy settings. This will help policymakers understand the impacts of government policies across Europe.

Planned Impact

Concern over some of the impacts of the ageing population has motivated many government policies. This research will help understand the effects of longer working lives on health, caring and inequalities and the potential impact of future policy reforms.

Despite the importance of health and care responsibilities in the lives of older people, there is been relatively little assessment of how a longer working life might affect these, and how recent reforms have impacted them. There is also little systematic evidence as to how different countries are responding to similar challenges. This research will fill this evidence gap, using dynamic microsimulation models to understand the interaction of health, caring and work, exploiting recent policy reforms to understand better the particular relationship between work and the health of the older population.

The proposed research is of clear direct interest to the UK's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and HM Treasury, both of whom are engaged in how the ageing population impacts the UK economy. In particular, the work on understanding the impact of longer working lives on health exploits the ongoing increase in the state pension age. Current legislation sets out a path for further increases, with regular reviews of this policy. By understanding what effect it has had on health, the government will be able to take better decisions on the path for future increases and whether other actions ought to be considered to help alleviate any adverse outcomes. Our findings will also be of significant relevance to the Department of Health and local authorities. For the former, it will be important to understand how extending working lives might affect demand for health care. For the latter, it will be important to understand how extending working lives might affect the availability of informal care and thus the need for publicly funded formal care.

As well as being relevant to public policymakers, our findings will also be of significant interest to a number of private and third sector organisations. This includes: employers of older workers, trades unions with older members and charities representing older people; all of whom will be interested in how longer working lives will affect the health, well-being and circumstances of older people.
Our collaboration with three other countries means that we will not only be able to help disseminate our own findings but also the findings of other researchers in the consortium. This means that UK policymakers and civil society will be able to learn lessons from the experience of these countries and understand the different ways in which policies are changing in response to an ageing population. Equivalently it will help disseminate our findings, where relevant, to policymakers in Denmark, France and Germany.

From the earliest stages of the work, we will engage with central and local government, private and third sector organisations to help ensure the work addresses the most relevant questions and to facilitate rapid dissemination of findings. The findings of our research will be made accessible to this audience through non-technical summaries of our results. These will be freely available from the IFS website. The IFS website receives on average over 44,000 visits per month. This will be in addition to more detailed working papers, which will then be submitted to peer-reviewed journals. We anticipate that - at a minimum - the programme of research will generate two academic papers that are publishable in good academic journals.

The publication of our findings will be accompanied by a press release sent to potentially interested journalists that will allow us to disseminate the findings via the broadcast and print media. The key findings will also be publicised through social media, for example via Twitter on which the IFS currently has over 19,000 followers.
 
Description Prevalence and dynamics of social care receipt 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation given at IFS, Audience: Academics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Substitution between informal and formal social care among the older population in England 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation given at the IFS, Audience: Academics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Increases in the state pension age, longer working, and links to health and cognitive function 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to DWP civil servants on Increases in the state pension age, longer working, and links to health and cognitive function
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Increases in the state pension age, longer working, and links to health and cognitive function 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Increases in the state pension age, longer working, and links to health and cognitive function
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Increasing the state pension age for women in the United Kindgom 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact presented at a workshop in September (Berlin 12 & 13 September)
Audience: Policymakers/Academics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description LONGLIVES Modules 1 and 2: United Kingdom 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This presentation was held at the LONGLIVES Meeting, Berlin.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Modelling Work, Health, Care and Income in the Older Population 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The IFS retirement simulator (RetSim)

Jonathan Cribb

LONGLIVES Meeting, Copenhagen

May 2017
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Modelling Work, Health, Care and Income in the Older Population 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presented at a workshop in September (Berlin 12 & 13 September)
Audience: Policymakers and Academics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Module 3: Caring responsibilities and longer working lives 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact presented at a workshop in September (Berlin 12 & 13 September)
Audience: Policymakers and Academics
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Social care receipt: prevalence and expectations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Rowena Crawford gave a presentation titled 'Social care receipt: prevalence and expectations' at a conference at Institut National d'Études Démographiques in Paris 18 May 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ipp.eu/actualites/18-mai-journee-detude-ined-ipp-defis-socioeconomiques-de-la-perte-daut...
 
Description Substitution Between Health and Social Care: Evidence from England 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Ben Zaranko chaired a session on Empirical Health Studies, and presented the talk titled 'Substitution Between Health and Social Care: Evidence from England'
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://editorialexpress.com/conference/RESConf2018/program/RESConf2018.html
 
Description The Dynamics of Social Care Use in England 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact George Stoye gave a presentation at the Department of Health and Social Care, which was also streamed to NHS England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description The causal impact of work on cognition and physical disability: exploiting the increase in the state pension age for women in the UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact David Sturrock presented at "The labour market with an ageing population" conference, hosted by Uppsala University
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ifau.se/globalassets/kurser-och-konferenser/2018/program-workshop.pdf
 
Description The dynamics of social care in England 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of 'the dynamices of social care in England' at the British and Irish Longitduinal Studies Conference, hosted at Queen's University, Belfast, in November 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/9766
 
Description The impact of a longer working life on health: exploiting the increase in the UK state pension age for women 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation to the Work, Pensions and Labour Economics study group (WPEG) conference in Sheffield on the impact of longer working on health
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The impact of cuts to social care spending on the use of Accident and Emergency departments in England 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Presentation the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England by Ben Zaranko on the impact of cuts to social care spending on the use of Accident and Emergency departments in England.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Work, Health and Disability 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact IFS hosted an ESRC/DWP roundtable - comprising civil servants from DWP and the Department for Health and a set of academics, in February 2017 as part of the UK Government's consultation on its "Work, Health and Disability" Green Paper.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017