Special Blog: The Macroeconomic Implications of Population Ageing

Key points

  • Population ageing is a worldwide phenomenon and should be celebrated.
  • It will dramatically reshape the developing world in particular.
  • Has big implications for economic growth and debt sustainability.
  • Dependency ratio remains relevant from a public spending perspective.
  • UK has relatively favourable demographics relative to other developed countries but remains exposed to these headwinds.
  • Boosting fertility, migration and working longer could all have positive effects on economic output over the long run.
  • But raising productivity growth of the labour market and specific public services such as health care will also be key.

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Out of the limelight: older people left in the shadows of the data revolution

Since the censuses of ancient times, policy makers have relied on data. In what the UN is terming a data revolution, technological advancement now means that we have more information than ever at our fingertips. Bigger datasets covering more people and more topics have the potential to highlight the experiences of previously marginalised groups. Indeed, the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons has proposed that data be disaggregated ‘by gender, geography, income, disability and other categories to ensure that no-one is left behind’. Continue reading

Guest Blog: Ken Bluestone – Older people: the forgotten generation

The UN is on the cusp of the next stage of negotiations for the international development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post-2015.


All eyes are looking to the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) to set a new standard for international cooperation with lofty ambitions of leaving no-one behind, a universal agenda that applies to all countries, environmental sustainability, accountability and creating a data revolution.
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There are some things money can’t buy…

On the UN’s International Day of Older Persons, the latest Global Age Watch Index underlines international variation in experiences of old age.

Today, Help Age International publish the latest edition of their Global Age Watch Index. For 96 countries, and 91% of the world’s population over 60, the index captures the standard of living of older people. The index combines 13 indicators, incorporating income security, health status, education and employment, and whether a country provides an enabling environment for older people. Continue reading

International Longevity Centre (ILC) Global Alliance members to participate in the Hyderabad Conference

Seventeen years have elapsed since the 3rd IFA Conference was held in Durban, South Africa in 1997 and the 12th IFA Conference takes place in Hyderabad this June. I was a co-organiser of the Durban conference, which we convened three years into the country’s proud new democracy, after the jubilantly heralded demise of apartheid (Ferreira, 1997). Continue reading

Dreaming of Number One

A Hugh Grant response to the news of China becoming the largest economy in the world

‘Next time someone tells you China is the number 1 economy, a bumbling Hugh Grant response is probably apt: “well, yes um, maybe, but, for how long, and, why does it matter?”’

Over the past few weeks there have been a host of stories about China overtaking the US as the largest economy in the world. This stems from analysis undertaken by the World Bank’s International Comparison Programme (ICP) which has revised its methodology for calculating comparative GDP. Continue reading

Europe’s economy needs more older workers

Europe faces significant labour market gaps as a result of demographic change. In the UK alone there are 13.5 million job vacancies, which need to be filled over the next ten years. But only seven million young people are projected to leave school and college over that time.

Despite a growth in the number of older workers since the 1990s, the EU is still failing to meet its target set in 2001 to achieve 50% employment rate of older workers by 2010. Over the period 2002-2008, the average age of labour market withdrawal among the EU-28 had only increased by an estimated 1.3 years, from 60.1 to 61.4.

And whilst the employment levels of older workers has increased over the past decade by 10% there is significant variation across Europe. Just 13% of Hungarians aged 60-64 were in work in 2010 compared to over 60% of Swedes. Continue reading