Averaging across all 20 countries in our sample, the pace of labor force participation gains has accelerated since the onset of the Great Recession. As noted, the participation rate of 60-64 year-olds increased at an average rate of 0.4 percentage points a year between 1989 and 2007. Between 2007 and 2012 the participation rate in this age group increased an average of 1.5 percentage points a year. In 12 of the 20 countries, the increase in the trend rate of participation change was statistically significant. The participation rate of 65-69 year-olds increased at an average rate of 0.1 percentage points a year between 1989 and 2007. Since 2007 the participation rate in this age group has increased an average of 0.8 percentage points a year across the sample countries. In 13 of the 20 countries, the rise in the trend rate of participation gain was statistically significant. In the oldest age group, 70-74 year-olds, the trend rate of increase in participation rose from 0.05 percentage points a year between 1989 and 2007 to 0.32 percentage points a year after 2007. In 12 of the 19 sample countries the increase in the pace of participation gain among 70-74 year-olds was statistically significant.While countries that experienced unusually severe downturns, including Ireland and much of southern Europe, represent exceptions to this generalization, the authors conclude that, on the whole, however, the trend toward later retirement in rich countries has not been reversed as a result of the Great Recession.
According to Robert Samuelson, this study suggests that the "We may be witnessing the last gasp of early retirement" and not just in the United States.
Source: Brookings Institution Paper (December 16, 2013)