Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore


In recent decades many industrialized countries experienced a substantial decrease in the working age population as a proportion of the total population. Demographic factors, such as declining fertility and increasing life expectancy, as well as institutional factors, such as the generosity of state-funded pension, both determined a change in the age distribution and a marked anticipation in retirement age. A lively debate among researchers and policymakers is currently taking place in Europe, as there are concerns that working longer may not be healthy for workers, or that it will be hard for older workers to get a job. Conversely, if working longer leads to higher employment rates and better health conditions, policies aimed at increasing peoples’ retirement age may represent a “win-win” strategy both in terms of fiscal policies as well as in terms of healthy life expectancy. Unfolding this controversy is essentially an empirical matter which is also of paramount importance for public policy.

This research program intends to investigate the socio-economic implications of work and retirement patterns of older workers and their effects on health conditions. In particular we are going to focus on the following themes:

  1. The Consequences of Ageing on the Labour Market Trajectories of Older Workers: focuses on the consequences of ageing on the labour market trajectories of older workers, and how these effects are mediated by the decay of workers competences.
    [principal investigator: Lorenzo Cappellari]
  2. The Effects of Job Quality of Older Workers on their Health: it analyses the effect of job quality on work-related health for European older workers (over the age of 50), in particular, on the work-related health of older workers as measured by a comprehensive set of indicators including perceptions of work-related health risks, mental (such as stress, anxiety, sleeping problems, irritability) and physical symptoms (such as respiratory difficulties, cardiac problems, skin problems).
    [principal investigator: Claudio Lucifora and Elena Cottini]
  3. Retirement Decisions and the Health of Older Workers: it analyses how labour market outcomes and retirement decisions impact on the health of older workers. Differences across countries and over time (i.e. due to reforms) in labour market institutions as well as in statutory retirement ages and financial incentives to retire, will be used to assess the health effects of policy changes that are currently debated in European countries.
    [principal investigator: Claudio Lucifora, Elena Cottini and Stephen Bazen]
  4. Work hazards and the management of Risks at work: it investigates health and safety at work and the management and prevention of accidents and injuries in workplaces
    [principal investigator: Bruno Piccoli and Claudio Lucifora]
  5. Life expectancy and intellectual property rights: it investigates static inefficiencies of IPR, and how it may affect health and life expectancy in developing countries
    [principal investigator: Claudio Lucifora and Simona Gamba]
  6. Retirement Decisions and bequests: it investigates retirement decisions and bequests to offsprings in an intergenerational setting
    [principal investigator: Claudio Lucifora, Elena Cottini and Simona Comi]