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J Soc Policy. 2014 Jul;43(3):535-553.

Government as Institutional Entrepreneur: Extending Working Life in the UK and Japan.

Author information

  • 1Centre for Research into the Older Workforce , Newcastle University , Newcastle UK NE1 4SE email:
  • 2WU Vienna University of Economics and Business , Welthandelsplatz 1 , 1020 Vienna , Austria email: h.s.Schrö
  • 3Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College , 140 Commonwealth Avenue , Chestnut Hill , MA 02467 , USA email:
  • 4Keio University , 2-15-45 Mita , Minato-ku , Tokyo 108-8345 , Japan email:


Through the lens of Institutional Entrepreneurship, this paper discusses how governments use the levers of power afforded through business and welfare systems to affect change in the organisational management of older workers. It does so using national stakeholder interviews in two contrasting economies: the United Kingdom and Japan. Both governments have taken a 'light-touch' approach to work and retirement. However, the highly institutionalised Japanese system affords the government greater leverage than that of the liberal UK system in changing employer practices at the workplace level.

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