Between Accommodating and Activating: Framing Policy Reforms in Response to Workforce Aging across Europe

Anne C. Kroon*, Rens Vliegenthart, Martine van Selm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In the past decade, European governments have implemented activating policy reforms to maximize older workers’ employment and employability, representing a paradigmatic change in approaches to work and retirement. This study isolates the factors that explain the relative success and failure of competitive frames that are either in favor of or against activating policies in European news coverage, by applying time-series analysis (ordinary least squares with panel-corrected standard errors) to monthly aggregated news coverage in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Spain over the timespan 2006–2013. The results show that pro-activating and counteractivating frames generally coincide in competitive framing environments. The pro-activating frame proliferated in times of high employment protection, whereas the counteractivating frame prevailed stronger in conservative compared with progressive newspapers, and gained momentum during the aftermath of the financial crisis and in times governments on the economic left were in power. The study advances knowledge of competitive issue framing by demonstrating how the economic, policy, and political context matters for the emergence and evolvement of competing frames. In addition, the findings contribute to the understanding of the factors that contribute to news representations that promote active aging in European news, which may foster support for policy reforms that sustain older workers’ employability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-356
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • active aging
  • competitive framing
  • framing
  • policy reforms
  • workforce aging


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