Areas of research

  • Working lives and pensions
  • Pension systems and pension policies in international comparison
  • Comparative welfare state research


My research focuses on comparative analysis pension systems and policies. In particular, I am interested in how changes in working careers and labour markets affect pension adequacy. Furthermore, I am interested in gender equality, social policies over the life course and welfare state development in general. My academic background is in quantitative Political Science and Social Policy and I currently contribute to several international research networks and projects.

Ongoing research projects

Life-course trajectories have become increasingly important for retirement and pensions as recent reforms have strengthened the link between lifetime employment and benefits, introduced measures to lengthen working lives and increased the role of private supplementary pensions. At the same time, life-courses are increasingly fragmented due to diversified and discontinuous employment, family dynamics, and migration. These developments raise concerns about the adequacy of pensions as well as socioeconomic and gender inequalities in old-age income not only for current, but also for future retirees. The articles of this special issue deal with life-course effects on inequalities in retirement and pensions. The collection provides strong empirical and comparative evidence based on micro- and macro-level data from affluent democracies across Europe and the OECD.

Schedule: 2019–2021

Researchers: Kati Kuitto, Susan Kuivalainen, Katja Möhring (University of Mannheim)

In the face of population ageing, most industrialised countries search for ways to extend working lives as a means of improve the sustainability of their pension systems. A broad range of reforms has been implemented, including the closing of early exit pathways, the raising of official retirement ages and strengthening the financial incentives to work longer. At the same time, there is growing awareness of the need to invest in workers for them to be able to continue working, for example by promoting lifelong learning and healthy behaviour. However, whereas an overall trend towards longer working lives can be observed, there are differences between countries and inequalities between groups within countries. In this project, we aim to analyse the mechanisms of extending working lives from a comparative perspective. In addition, we aim to identify whose working lives are extending and whether there are differences between the genders and socioeconomic groups.

Schedule: 2018–

Researchers: Kati Kuitto, Aart-Jan Riekhoff, Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Jan Helmdag (University of Stockholm)


  • Riekhoff, A.-J. & Kuitto, K. & Palomäki, L.-M. (2020) Substitution and spill-overs between early exit pathways in times of extending working lives in Europe. International Social Security Review, 73(2), forthcoming.

The aim of this research project is to shed light on the various factors underlying the subjective views of economic well-being of older Europeans. First, we are interested in how subjective economic well-being (SEW) is related to individuals’ income levels, source of income, socioeconomic status and gender. Second, the project pays special attention to how household structure and various household members’ resources affect SEW. Third, we aim to compare countries and identify factors at the macrolevel that influence individuals’ and households’ SEW. The empirical analysis is based on the EU-SILC survey data, in combination with data extracted from other external sources. Results will be published in international scientific journals on ageing and social policy.

Schedule: 2020–2022

Researchers: Liisa-Maria Palomäki, Kati Kuitto, Susan Kuivalainen, Aart-Jan Riekhoff

Early career development in terms of labour market attachment and earnings is important for later life, but also for future pensions and thus incomes in old age. In this project, we study the effects of parenthood, parental leave breaks and other career discontinuities on labour market attachment and earnings development of young Finnish women and men. We use register data of the Finnish Centre for Pensions and Statistics Finland’s data for cohorts born between 1967 and 1987. We carry out trajectory analyses for identifying different early career paths and regression modelling for studying the effects of parenting leave breaks on earnings and careers.

Schedule: 2016–

Researchers: Kati Kuitto, Janne Salonen, Jan Helmdag (University of Stockholm)