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Welfare Reform on the Web (March 2012): Care of the elderly - overseas

Ageing populations in post-industrial democracies: comparative studies of policies and politics

P. Vanhuysse and A. Goerres (editors)

Abingdon: Routledge, 2012

Most advanced democracies are currently experiencing accelerated population ageing, which fundamentally changes not just their demographic composition; it can also be expected to have far-reaching political and policy consequences. This volume brings together an expert set of scholars from Europe and North America to investigate generational politics and public policies within an approach explicitly focusing on comparative political science. This theoretically unified text examines changing electoral policy demands due to demographic ageing, and features analysis of USA, UK, Japan, Germany, Italy and all major EU countries. As the first sustained political science analysis of population ageing, this monograph examines both sides of the debate. It examines the actions of the state against the interests of a growing elderly voting bloc to safeguard fiscal viability, and looks at highly-topical responses such as pension cuts and increasing retirement age. It also examines the rise of 'grey parties', and asks what, if anything, makes such pensioner parties persist over time, in the first ever analysis of their emergence in Europe.

Reconstructing the elderly: a critical analysis of pensions and population policies in an era of demographic ageing

D. Coole

Contemporary Political Theory, vol. 11, 2012, p. 41-67

This article finds policy on ageing advancing along two related but distinct timelines. These field short- and longer-term responses, although both perceive ageing in terms of threats to economic growth. In the short-term responses, ageing is constructed as pre-eminently an issue of shrinking labour markets, dependency and fiscal over-reach. This framing focuses attention primarily on reforming pension systems and on designing programmes to transform the elderly into productive workers and accomplished market actors. Analysis of longer-term initiatives reveals a more overtly demographic solution to population ageing that focuses on population rejuvenation and draws on a world historical narrative of development and decline.

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