Pensioner Employment, Well-Being, and Gender: Lessons from Russia
Encouraging pensioner employment is one answer to the challenge of aging societies. Employment positively influences the subjective well-being (SWB) of working-age populations, but the implications for pensioners, including variance by gender and occupational class, are unclear. We examine this variance using mixed methods on data from Russia, where pensioner employment is comparatively high. Utilizing data on 5,703 individuals ages 45–70 from 12 waves of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (2003–15), we estimate individual fixed-effects models for life satisfaction, exploring mechanisms using longitudinal qualitative data. We find pensioner employment positively influences SWB of both genders across the occupational hierarchy. We attribute the muting of occupational variance to the decommodifying action of pensions. We find gender differences in mechanisms: pensioner employment gives women a noneconomic SWB boost, but additional income explains men’s SWB improvements. We theorize this finding using our qualitative data, showing how gendered age schemas shape pensioner well-being.