افسانه ها، شواهد علمی و سیاست اقتصادی در جهان رو به پیری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|24480||2013||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8790 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Volumes 1–2, November 2013, Pages 3–15
The aim of this article is threefold: to show how important the communication of scientific evidence from the economics of aging is in order to demystify popular fallacies; to review where we stand in the more subtle mechanisms behind these fallacies and where more data and research is needed to fully understand the economics of aging; and to emphasize the link between theory, evidence, and political economy in the economics of aging.
Many people are afraid of aging – understandably of individual aging, but also of population aging. The expected demographic change is called an “age bulge”, pension systems are “at the verge of collapse”, economic growth of “Old Europe” will “come to a halt for decades” and society is expected to end up in a “war between generations”. All this creates anxiety, while “active aging”, prominent e.g., in the European Union’s theme of the year 2012, is seen by many as a pure political euphemism. Much of this negative attitude is generated by a set of myths about individual and population aging that are not backed and often squarely contradicted by evidence. Demystifying aging by juxtaposing the myths with sober scientific evidence on the challenges and chances of aging is, as we claim, therefore one of the most important tasks of the economics of aging and this new journal. This task is important since population aging requires adaptation through economic policy reforms which are frequently obstructed by such myths. The aim of this article is therefore threefold: to show how important the communication of scientific evidence from the economics of aging is in order to demystify popular fallacies; to review where we stand in the more subtle mechanisms behind these fallacies and where more data and research is needed to fully understand the economics of aging; and to emphasize the link between theory, evidence, and political economy in the economics of aging. Demystifying aging is doable since there is a growing body of data at the macro and micro level, some specific to certain countries, but many also internationally comparable. The international dimension is especially valuable since learning about aging requires variation in aging. For individual aging, we can compare respondents of different age in panel data. For population aging, however, we need to compare countries and regions which exhibit different demographics. In some countries population aging has been going on for quite a while, resulting already now in high dependency ratios, e.g., Japan and the quintessential “Old European” countries, especially Italy and Germany. Then there are relatively young countries in which the speed of aging is dramatic, especially in Asia, notably China and Korea. Third, there are also countries where aging is not so dramatic, e.g., France, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, mainly because these countries have maintained higher birth rates than the abovementioned Asian and European countries. One fruitful way to demystify aging in these younger countries is to simply look over the fence at older countries and to collect evidence what has happened in these countries – and what not. The cross-national perspective is of particular importance since time-series offer no comparison scenarios: the current demographic change is without precedent in history. The article is structured by a set of popular myths. I set the stage at the macroeconomic level with the myth that aging economies are bound to experience stagnation or even decline in terms of living standards. This is not necessarily the case. Rather, the key conclusion is that the main danger of population aging is the lack of adaptation to a new demographic situation. The analysis of individual behavioral reactions and the political economy aspects of population aging should therefore be a primary objects of research in the economics of aging. Many myths surround individual and social behavior and the potential to adapt. They form the body of this paper. Most of these myths are linked to misconceptions about health and productivity and the general economic and political ability of an aging society to function. We find ample evidence that health at older ages has improved to support increasing labor force supply at these ages. There is even some evidence – although not uncontroversial – that health is positively related to active aging beyond current retirement ages. The evidence does not support the myth of quickly falling productivity after youth. Finally, there is no evidence that older regions and countries have less of the intergenerational cohesion that is so important to make economic policy reforms feasible.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper has juxtaposed a set of popular myths with evidence provided by the recent literature on the economics of aging, often based on internationally comparable data. I like to end with four conclusions. First, the paper has started with a macro-economic simulation model that shows that demography is not destiny – rather, destiny is whether aging societies are able to undergo structural economic reforms which adapt these societies to a different demographic environment. Second, evidence is needed to show that such reforms are possible (e.g., have been successfully adopted in some country) and have paid off. The economics of aging is particularly loaded with highly emotional prejudices and myths, and evidence is needed to disprove them. Moreover, such results need to be communicated. The still prevailing strong suggestive power of a fallacy such as the lump-of-labor view symbolizes a particularly pernicious communication failure of our profession. Third, international evidence is especially valuable for the economics of aging because it provides variation in the age structure from which we can learn what happens when societies age. The variation is large between, e.g., the US on the one hand and Germany, Italy, and Japan on the other hand. But there is useful variation even across regions within European countries as has been shown in the previous section. Fourth and finally, more detailed life-course data is needed to obtain better evidence on the many subtleties beyond the myths and their repudiations. Existing panels need to be sustained. Since individual characteristics at older ages arise from the cumulated influences over the life cycle, many simultaneous causal pathways are possible. The emergence of very long panel and life history data is very promising in teasing out specific pathways for a better understanding of the long-term mechanisms in the economics of aging.