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Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations

Scherbov, Sergei and Sanderson, Warren C. and Mamolo, Marija (2014) Quantifying policy tradeoffs to support aging populations. Demographic Research, 30. pp. 579-608. ISSN 1435-9871

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Coping with aging populations is a challenge for most developed countries. Supporting non-working adults can create an unsustainable burden on those working. One way of dealing with this is to raise the normal pension age, but this has proven unpopular. A complementary approach is to raise the average labor force participation rate. These policies are generally more politically palatable because they often remove barriers, allowing people who would like to work to do so. OBJECTIVE To conceptualize and estimate the trade-off between pension age and labor force participation rate policies. METHOD We project the populations of European countries and apply different levels of labor force participation rates to the projected populations. We introduce the notion of a relative burden, which is the ratio of the fraction of the income of people in the labor market in 2050 that they transfer to adults out of the labor market to the same fraction in 2009. We use this indicator to investigate the trade-offs between changes in normal pension ages and the general level of labor force participation rates. RESULTS We show that, in most European countries, a difference in policies that results in an increase in average labor force participation rates by an additional one to two percentage points by 2050 can substitute for a one-year increase in the normal pension age. This is important because, in many European countries, without additional increases in labor force participation rates, normal pension ages would have to be raised well above 68 by 2050 to keep the burden on those working manageable. CONCLUSION Because of anticipated increases in life expectancy and health at older ages as well as because of financial necessity, some mix of increases in pension ages and in labor force participation rates will be needed. Pension age changes by themselves will not be sufficient.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik > Demographie > Wittgenstein Centre
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 14:34
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2017 16:19
Related URLs:
URI: http://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/5800

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