National Bureau of Economic Research
Over the last thirty years pathways to retirement have changed substantially in the UK. They have been dominated by spells of unemployment in the late 1970s, with then an increased importance of disability spells from the mid-1980s onwards. At the end of the period the direct route from work to retirement was increasingly more common. General economic conditions seem to have been important driving forces during the entire period. In contrast changes in health do not seem to provide convincing explanations for these trends: mortality has been falling over the period without any apparent link to the share of the population reporting ill health or disability or to the number claiming benefits.