Volume 31 - Article 44 | Pages 1311–1336

Ageing dynamics of a human-capital-specific population: A demographic perspective

By Dimiter Philipov, Anne Goujon, Paola Di Giulio

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Date received:12 Mar 2014
Date published:03 Dec 2014
Word count:8000
Keywords:aging, educational attainment, human capital, old-age dependency ratio, pensions, projections


Background: Research on how rising human capital affects the consequences of population ageing rarely considers the fact that the human capital of the elderly population is composed in a specific way that is shaped by their earlier schooling and work experience. For an elderly population of a fixed size and age-sex composition, this entails that the higher its human capital, the greater the total amount of public pensions to be paid.

Objective: The main purpose of this paper is to analyse the link between human capital and retiree benefits and its effect on population ageing from a demographic viewpoint.

Methods: We construct an old age dependency ratio (OADR), in which each person, whether in the numerator or the denominator, is assigned the number of units corresponding to his/her level of human capital. Based on data for Italy, we study the dynamics of this human-capital-specific OADR with the help of multistate population projections to 2107.

Results: Our results show that under specific conditions a constant or moderately growing human capital may aggravate the consequences of population ageing rather than alleviate them.

Conclusions: With those findings, the authors would like to stimulate the debate on the search for demographic and/or socio-economic solutions to the challenges posed by population ageing.

Author's Affiliation

Dimiter Philipov - Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital (IIASA, OeAW, University of Vienna), Austria [Email]
Anne Goujon - European Commission Joint Research Centre, Italy [Email]
Paola Di Giulio - Vienna Institute of Demography (Austrian Academy of Sciences), Austria [Email]

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