Skip to main content
LEXLIV - Labour Market Exit and Living Conditions in Old Age.jpg

LEXLIV - Labour Market Exit and Living Conditions in Old Age

Research group
Active research
Project period
2014 - 2021
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Short description

The research program contributes to knowledge about the welfare consequences of the generally more flexible and deferred retirement age. LEXLIV examines aspects of capacity in organizations as well as for individuals and different groups for an increasingly longer working life, over system levels (individual, workplace, private life and community level) and time.

One purpose is to better understand how access to or absence of resources in one area can affect resources and capacity in other areas. We study whether there are specific patterns and practices linked to how different aspects of capability develop and relate to each other over time. The studies have system theoretical and intersectional perspectives in the analysis of interplay levels and their importance for capacity in different groups affects working and living conditions in older days. Another purpose is to study the conditions of organizations and different forms of organization in order to retain the workforce at increasingly older ages. These studies have institutional perspectives in analyzing actors' practices in different contexts. A third purpose is to describe models that have the prerequisites to strengthen them. The program uses several different methods: Experiencing retirement as a choice and breaking point in a life is explored through qualitative in-depth interviews. The existence and development of cumulative disadvantages and benefits is studied through register studies and panel data that extend over many years. Organizational capability is studied in consortia with active companies. In addition, in-depth qualitative case studies are conducted in organizations with interviews and observations. Bridging between case studies and survey studies is also done through employee surveys in the studied organizations. The program is part of the Center for Aging and Health - AGECAP and consists of researchers from the University of Gothenburg: Department of Sociology and Work Science, Department of Business Administration, Department of Psychology and Sahlgrenska Academy - in collaboration with other universities, eg Umeå University, University of Borås, University of Borås , SRH Hochschule Berlin and The MS University of Baroda and Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies.

Through population studies, these projects aim to provide knowledge about the consequences of aging in a social and welfare perspective. One aspect that is being investigated concerns the development of the participation of older people in a changed pension system. What is the significance of accumulated working and living conditions for participation and well-being in older days? What are the preferences of older people to stay in working life? Are there differences between men and women, occupational groups and socio-economic status? Other aspects concern the health, well-being and needs of the elderly before and after retirement given different working conditions.


  • Kadefors, R., Nilsson, K., Rylander, L., Östergren, P. O., & Albin, M. (2017). Occupation, gender and work-life exits: a Swedish population study. Ageing & Society, 1-18.
  • Kadefors, R., Nilsson, K., Östergren, P. O., Rylander, L., & Albin, M. (2017). Social inequality in working life expectancy in Sweden. Conditionally accepted Zeitschrift für Gerontologie und Geriatrie
  • Halleröd, Björn, and Daniel Seldén. "The multi-dimensional characteristics of wellbeing: How different aspects of wellbeing interact and do not interact with each other." Social indicators research 113.3 (2013): 807-825.
  • Berglund, Tomas, Daniel Seldén, and Björn Halleröd. Factors Affecting Prolonged Working Life for the Older Workforce: the Swedish Case. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 7.1 (2017): 19.
  • Kadefors, R. Nilsson, K. Rylander, L. Östergren, P-O. Albin, M. Occupation, gender and work life exits. A Swedish population study. Ageing & Society, Published online 20/3/2017. 
  • Berglund, Tomas, Daniel Seldén, and Björn Halleröd. Factors Affecting Prolonged Working Life for the Older Workforce: the Swedish Case.Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 7.1 (2017): 19.
  • Nilsson, K. Östergren, P-O. Kadefors, R. Albin, M. 2016. Has the participation of older employees in the workforce increased? Study of the total Swedish population regarding exit from working life. Scand. J. Public Health 44(5):506-516

As the life span increases, the number of individuals suffering from dementia is also increasing, which is a challenge for all aging communities. Today we know that both social and genetic factors influence the risk of developing dementia. However, with regard to the interaction between an individual's gene set and her living conditions, knowledge is limited. In this area of ​​research, we examine what social factors that, given the individual's genome, can protect against the above-mentioned diseases. One study analyzes the importance of socioeconomics and gender. Another analyzes the significance of interactions between socioeconomics and exposure at work among women and men. A third examines social relationships and networks. These research questions are genuinely interdisciplinary in nature and thus researchers from many different disciplines, including sociology, medicine, neurochemistry and work sciences, work.


Ongoing publications:

  • Genes and the long arm of social inequality (Hesselgren, Halleröd, Ekbrant, Skoog mfl)
  • The impact of social networks and APOE ɛ4 on dementia among older adults: Tests of possible interactions (Wu, Hesselgren, Halleröd)
  • Socioeconomic status and dementia – what mediates the association? On the influence of work environment exposures and their interactions with APOE ɛ4 (Hesselgren, mfl)

This research area examines the importance of flexibility and adaptability for capacity, work capacity and labor market participation near the end of working life. Panel data (PSAE) with register data will be used to examine how different groups (by health, socio-economic background, gender, industry) influence these relationships and their significance for pension preferences or actual labor market exit. A study of women with pain and stress-related disorders (MQ) examines how working conditions and adjustment possibilities interact with attitudes towards working with health problems or taking pensions as well as actual work participation or retirement.


  • Ahlstrom L, Dellve L, Hagberg M, Ahlberg K. Women with Neck Pain on Long-Term Sick Leave-Approaches Used in the Return to Work Process: A Qualitative Study. J Occup Rehabil. J Occup Rehabil. 2017 Mar;27(1):92-105. doi: 10.1007/s10926-016-9636-3.
  • Dellve L, Fallman SL, Ahlstrom L. Return to work from long-term sick leave: a six-year prospective study of the importance of adjustment latitudes at work and home. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2016 Jan;89(1):171-9. doi: 10.1007/s00420-015-1061-y.

Demographic changes with an increased proportion of older people have led to the need for an extended working life and delayed retirement. Three reasons are often cited for this: to ensure a sustainable pension system, to guarantee access to labor and an efficient use of the human capital held by older workers, and to contribute to the welfare of the elderly. Today, however, there are almost no well-documented examples of how workplaces have really been able to change their business and thus achieve an extended working life for older employees. How can employers deal with this problem? Within the research program, the organizational conditions and practices that promote and prevent delayed retirement are studied. The program regularly organizes consortium meetings with eight organizations with an interest in the matter. In these, in-depth case studies are conducted to answer the research questions. In the cases studied, one of Agecap's population surveys is also distributed to employees to compare the cases with a representative sample.

Ongoing papers and scientific publications:

  • Kadefors, R. Schaller, J. Thång, P-O. Pestat, E. 2016. Attitudes among male and female university professors, and other categories of university employees, to working up to and beyond normal retirement age. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 6(1):133-146
  • Wikström, E., Eriksson, E. Karamehmedovic, L., and Liff, R.(2017). Bibehållande av kompetens och åldersmedvetet ledarskap.
  • Seldén, D., m fl. (2017)  Norms and path dependency regarding retirement in a large organization.
  • Allard, K., Wikström, E., Seldén, D., (2017-2018). CSR and Age Management: Motsägelser om ålder och kapabilitet att arbeta.
  • Arman, R., Kadefors. R., Liff, R., & Wikström E., (2017). Organizational Capability: Results from an intervention study.
  • Arman,  R., Liff, R., & Wikström, E., (2017-2018). Age management - stabilization, change & narrative acts.

Some want and can work up to 67 years, some want to work longer. Others, because they are worn out or sick, have to end their professional life much earlier - the exit from working life varies with both gender and socio-economic position. Regardless, retirement is a major breaking point in people's lives where another everyday life occurs and new routines must be established. Knowledge about how individuals handle the withdrawal from working life depending on identity and resources linked to class, gender and ethnicity is essential as the results can lead to better conditions for combating ill health and increasing well-being among the elderly. Thus, retirement is examined from a social inequality perspective, focusing on questions about what this transition phase means for older people - existential as well as identity.


  • Bengtsson, M., & Flisbäck, M. (2017). On leaving work as a calling: retirement as an existential imperative. International Journal of Ageing and Later Life, 11(1), 37-67.
  • Bengtsson, Mattias, Marita Flisbäck, and Anna Lund. Farväl till arbetet: Sociologiska perspektiv på meningen med att gå i pension. Nordic Academic Press, 2017.
  • Bengtsson, Mattias och Flisbäck, Marita (2016) ”När kallet ställs på sin spets. Pensionering ur ett existenssociologiskt perspektiv”, Sociologisk Forskning 53(2): 127-150.

In a first stage, the project developed a theoretical frame of reference for how capacity and well-being can be promoted partly by strengthening factors and conditions at different system levels and by integrating and strengthening these in practices that bridge the system levels. In the next step, value-integrating practices are explored and investigated in the management of activities that have specific challenges in terms of value conflicts (elder care). This is done both through surveys, interviews and observations in selected organizations and with managers, care workers and users. The overall goal is to develop sustainable and value-integrating models that support older users and care workers' conditions for capacity. The studies compare and contribute to the development of value-integrating models in Sweden and India.


  • Dellve, L., & Eriksson, A. (2017). Health-promoting managerial work: A theoretical framework for a leadership program that supports knowledge and capability to craft sustainable work practices in daily practice and during organizational change. Societies, 7(2), 12.
  • Dellve L & Wolmesjö M (red) (2016) Ledarskap i äldreomsorgen: Att leda integrerat värdeskapande i en röra av värden och förutsättningar. Vetenskap för profession 35:2016, Högskolan Borås