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81 Working Paper

Continental welfare states in Europe confronted with the end-of-career inactivity trap: A major challenge to social protection in an aging society.

2001 – Anne-Marie Guillemard


The paper is an attempt to assess continental welfare state reforms that use the window of the end-of-career inactivity trap. The question addressed is: what is the most effective way to break up the vicious circle of early exit from the labor market, which is a specific pathology of continental welfare states. The cases of the Netherlands and Finland, two countries that have succeeded in reversing the early exit trend in recent years, prove that only a radical change in paradigms that govern social protection may turn the vicious circle of welfare without work for aging workers into a virtuous circle of active aging. In states in which reforms have focused on changing the rules and regulations that govern retirement systems, or on restricting early exit pathways, as is the case in France, they have failed to break up with the end-of-career inactivity trap.