The ageing of populations has been a topic of discussion during the last few decades, but how is this subject represented in the media, and what images of old age are produced? In this article we present the results of a quantitative content analysis that investigates how the concept of population ageing has been represented in Swedish local and national daily news press between 1988 and 2009, and the old age positions that are offered in these representations. We also use discourse analysis in order to qualitatively examine the ways in which the concept of population ageing is articulated in these news press articles and the old age positions that are thereby constituted. The results show that the concept is constituted as a naturalised expert concept, and is primarily used in order to contextualise articles about future political and economical difficulties or even crises. By articulating population ageing with both political policies, political economy and older people’s (as a group) reported need for care and services, population ageing was constituted as a political economic concern rather than a problem for the aged individual.
This review shows that Hong Kong and Singapore face a distinct and serious challenge to old-age income security due to their mix of public pension provision and intergenerational family support. They are among the fastest ageing societies internationally and will be the oldest in Asia after Japan by 2030. Yet their public pensions remain weak. Defined contribution pensions, even for full-career workers, are projected to replace just 17% of net lifetime average earnings in Singapore and 41% in Hong Kong, compared to 70% across the OECD countries. Instead, older persons in Singapore and Hong Kong depend mainly on their adult children for income security in the form of co-residence and cash transfers. More than half of them live with adult children. In Singapore, more than two-thirds receive financial support from the younger generation, compared to just 5% on average in Europe. Current welfare theory would suggest that Singapore and Hong Kong portray an extreme variant of welfare regime where the state’s role is more limited than in the liberal regime and the family’s role more central than in the Southern European regime. The sustainability of current old-age income security arrangements is therefore particularly vulnerable to new social risks that threaten the stability of traditional family structures. Already co-residence and financial support from adult children are declining. A fuller assessment of the prospects for old-age income security must focus on the interaction of pension policy and family support for elderly persons in different gender and income groups.
There have been few studies that examine quality of life among older adults in the Latin American region. Using a recent representative national survey on quality of life among older adults in Chile, we examine the effects of eight potentially important factors (nutrition, physical activity, going outside the home, reading, quality of family relations, conflict, social support, self-efficacy) on three major dimensions of quality of life (functional capacity, material conditions, general satisfaction with life). The regression models confirm that the major predictive factor of satisfactory functional capacity is the practice of physical activities, while for satisfaction, the major predictive factors are self-efficacy, good quality of social relations, and the performance of significant activities such as reading and going outside the home. Educational level is a variable that cuts across all these predictors, in a context of great unequal social opportunities in Latin America. These results have implications for the development and implementation of social policies and programs to achieve an improvement in living conditions of the growing elderly population in the region, and reduce costs that societies face as a product of this new demographic scenario.
In the United States, beginning in the late 1980s there was a substantial increase in the labor force participation of men and women in their 60s. Over the same time period the type of pension plans offered by employers shifted strongly from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans. Defined benefit plans typically have optimal retirement ages embedded in their structure which induce early retirement, whereas defined contribution plans do not favor any particular retirement age. Based on panel data, this paper quantifies the increase in participation due to the change in pension structure. The main result is that the pension changes account for a considerable part of the increase, but other factors also made a contribution.
Population aging worries many. Will population aging negatively affect economic output and lead to deflation? Can countries afford to cater for older populations? Can they prevent old-age poverty? Can they pay adequate pensions? Can they address the challenge of population aging by postponing the retirement age? Should they seek to counteract population aging through accelerated immigration and/ or should they focus on maintaining fertility rates above replacement levels? Although some answers to these questions are context-specific, this paper argues that the threat of population aging is overstated. It is hyped by media and too often based on partial analysis. A macroeconomic analysis provides a more adequate and less threatening picture of population aging than the household-focused analysis that underlies most studies on this subject matter. The developed economies that already have a large share of older persons are well positioned to shoulder the economic implications of further population aging, and rapidly developing economies, which see an accelerated rate of population aging, are too. Many countries have the economic conditions to address population aging, but many lack the necessary resolve to implement the required policies. Popular policy responses to population aging are building up to a major wave of income redistribution, following the globalization of finance and the current responses to the global economic crisis.
It is well known that individual mortality risk within the United Kingdom, as with most other rich countries, varies with geography as well as socioeconomic resources. However, the interaction between socioeconomic resources and geography among the older retired population is under-researched. This study reports the results of an analysis which used routine administrative data pooled by more than 100 public and private occupational pension schemes. The results show that regional effects on mortality are dependent on socioeconomic disadvantage, and are therefore apparent for the most disadvantaged pensioners, but not for the least disadvantaged.
Pension reforms in many countries have resulted in more choice and risk to individuals, decreasing the dependability on State public pensions. However, it is not clear how research has addressed this issue and how much is know about retirement saving decisions. With this paper, we provided two major contributions to the literature on retirement saving. As a starting point, we developed a general chart of retirement saving choices, extending the work of Hurd and Panis (2006). These authors focused exclusively on choices at job change or retirement age and we extended their diagram to all main decisions at each stage of retirement saving, providing a more comprehensive framework. We then used this diagram as the yardstick to perform the systematic review and evaluate the breadth of research in the last 20 years. We found 130 papers and identified the most studied retirement choices and the under- researched areas. Most papers focused on asset allocation, decision to save and contribution rate. Less attention was given to decisions at retirement age and voluntary savings. Furthermore, very few papers studied the psychological and social influences in retirement saving decisions. Policy implications and future research are discussed.
Using the computational framework of National Transfer Accounts, this paper offers new results and explanations on the role of public support to India's elderly population in 2004-05. New results refer to computed (a) lifecycle deficit (LCD) based on age profiles of aggregate labour income and consumption and (b) public age reallocations based on age profiles of transfers and asset based reallocations. The results show that the LCD of elderly population is about 34% of the LCD of all ages, or 3.74% of GNP. Surprisingly, net public transfers to elderly individuals are strongly negative and asset-based allocations are financed by dis-saving, because the taxes paid by the elderly population substantially exceed the benefits they receive and they pay both interest on previously accumulated public debt and paying off that debt. Public age reallocations finance elderly individuals' consumption by less than 0.50% and the largest burden of financing public transfers falls on elderly for whom the net public transfers is -13.33% of labour income. The heavy burden on the elderly population is attributable in part to India's tax system and partly on the absence of programs that provide support to elderly individuals. If the present private sector's support for elderly individuals is not sustainable due to changes in the social obligations and in the absence of a universal pension scheme, a reduction in the direct tax outflows for the elderly population may be a policy imperative in India's public age reallocations. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT
We relate indicators of cognitive abilities and health promotion to the propensity to screen for breast cancer, using microeconomic data available in a sample of women aged 50 or above in 11 European countries. Our findings suggest that health promotion activities attenuate the effect of human capital on the decision to undertake mammography, thus implying that disparities in education achievements and cognitive skills do not fully translate into differences in the propensity to do preventive screening.
Using the computational framework of National Transfer Accounts, this paper offers new results and explanations on the role of public support to India’s elderly population in 2004–05. New results refer to computed (a) lifecycle deficit (LCD) based on age profiles of aggregate labour income and consumption and (b) public age reallocations based on age profiles of transfers and asset based reallocations. The results show that the LCD of elderly population is about 34% of the LCD of all ages, or 3.74% of GNP. Surprisingly, net public transfers to elderly individuals are strongly negative and asset-based allocations are financed by dis-saving, because the taxes paid by the elderly population substantially exceed the benefits they receive and they pay both interest on previously accumulated public debt and paying off that debt. Public age reallocations finance elderly individuals’ consumption by less than 0.50% and the largest burden of financing public transfers falls on elderly for whom the net public transfers is −13.33% of labour income. The heavy burden on the elderly population is attributable in part to India's tax system and partly on the absence of programs that provide support to elderly individuals. If the present private sector's support for elderly individuals is not sustainable due to changes in the social obligations and in the absence of a universal pension scheme, a reduction in the direct tax outflows for the elderly population may be a policy imperative in India's public age reallocations.
Sri Lanka’s population is predicted to age very fast during the next 50 years, bringing a potential slowdown of labor force growth and after 2030 its contraction. Based on a large and detailed survey of old people in Sri Lanka, conducted in 2006, the paper examines labor market consequences of this process, focusing on employment outcomes of old workers and the reasons and determinants of labor market withdrawal. The paper finds that a vast majority of Sri Lankan old workers are engaged in the informal sector, work long hours, and are paid less than younger workers. Moreover, using hard evidence, it shows that labour market duality characterizing most developing countries carries over to old age: (i) previous employment is the most important predictor of the retirement pathway; (ii) older workers fall into two categories: formal sector workers, who generally stop working before age 60 because of mandatory retirement regulations, and casual workers and the self-employed, who, due to poverty, work till very old ages and stop working primarily because of poor health; and (iii) the option of part-time work is used primarily by former formal sector workers.
Autumn 2011 has been pinpointed as the time in which the world population reaches 7 billion, a psychological moment, a time to pause and consider. While there is still some debate over the progress of the demographic transition, its process and form across the Less Developed World, and whether it will occur throughout the African continent, as the world achieves a population of 7 billion, the role of the demographic transition in both simultaneously increasing and ageing the world is widely acknowledged. It is thus also a moot time to consider moving away from the notion of ageing populations per se to a more useful notion of the age-structural shift. Taking an age structural change perspective allows us to view population change in terms of a shift between providers and dependents the dependency ratio - and how this will typically move from a large percentage of young to large percentage of old dependents during the demographic transition.
How long people expect to live sets an important context for longevity risk in retirement planning and may contribute to the acceptability of policies to raise pension age. However, there have been few studies representative of a national population on subjective longevity. This paper reviews the available evidence. It finds that despite some studies reporting that subjective longevity is close to average measures in population life tables the prevailing tendency is to underestimate lifespans. Men generally reflect that they have lower actual longevity than women on average, but men are more optimistic, so that women are more likely to underestimate their likely longevity. People may take account of some mortality risk factors in estimating their own longevity, but appear not to understand the true extent of risk. There is little data on how people think about longevity or why they choose a particular estimate of their own likely lifespan. Thus, international evidence suggests potential for longevity risk in individual retirement planning and raises significant questions about the policy implications which can only become more acute in ageing populations.
As the 21st century faces the challenge of ageing populations, the need to develop even more robust measures has lost none of its significance in order to enable us to address these challenges with the best evidence-base we can provide. However, there is now a considerable need for wider public policy understanding of the demographics. In that sense, demography is a victim to some extent of its own terminology. As well as building a broader evidence-base from continued collection of data, measurement of components and improved methodologies, demography needs to make itself understandable to the hosts of non-demographers now immersing themselves in the terms and usage of demography. Key to all of the above is accurate and rigorous measurement of demographic components.
It is generally known that the age-specific probabilities of dying exhibit a typical pattern common in all human populations. It is also extensively known that, in every population, males and females experience significantly different mortality levels. However the gap between the mortality patterns of the two sexes significantly varies through ages exhibiting a pattern that became typical since the middle of the 20th century. In this paper we present a parametric model for the description of this pattern, which presents the log ratio between the male and female empirical probabilities of dying as a parametric function of age. For evaluating the adequacy of the model proposed, we fit it to empirical data sets of a variety of populations and time periods. This model can serve as a tool for comparisons of the sex-differentiated mortality between populations and through time.
Both the centuries-long tradition of conventional lifespan indicators and the more recent criticism to them ignore the true exposures of individuals to prevailing mortality levels. These exposures form a genuine part of a more comprehensive picture of the prevailing mortality conditions. In low-mortality countries, our estimated duration of human life exceeds the conventional estimates by 15 years. Our theory implies that mortality dynamics are characterised by a considerable inertia. This is used to develop new methods of forecasting, leading to a more optimistic outlook for future mortality.