JCJC - Jeunes chercheuses et jeunes chercheurs

Health Economics of Ageing and Participation in Society – HEAPS

Submission summary

Europe is the world's oldest continent in demographic terms. It has the highest median age of all continents (38 years) and 20.6% of its population is aged 60 and over. By 2050, this figure will reach 34.5% and the number of 'oldest old' (people aged 80 and over) is expected to grow by 180% (source United Nations, 2007). Following Jamieson's (1994) prior work, policy interventions in Europe already dealing with this issue often draw inspiration from theoretical frameworks promoting 'active ageing' (WHO, 2002) or 'healthy ageing' (WHO, 2006) as a process of increasing opportunities for health to enable older people to take part in society. The healthy ageing framework rests on the combination of older people health outcomes with their capacity to lead productive lives in the society and economy. The EU and the Member states have recently launched several health monitoring programs so that a wide range of datasets concerning aged people in Europe is available by now (e.g. SHARE, ECHI, MAGGIE, EPIC, etc.). Although this statistical information has already contributed to the rapid expansion of the academic literature on the determinants of healthy ageing, their use in design and evaluation of public policies is much less developed. In their seminal study on health ageing in Europe, Agren & Berensson (2006: 202) suggest that future research should 'assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of health promoting interventions and interventions for the prevention of disease or ill-health throughout the life course and especially in later life.' Our aim is to provide policymakers and researchers some insights about the modalities of implementation and the expected effects of healthy ageing public policies. Two topics in particular, and the various interactions between them, could be investigated: labour force participation for economic growth and economic sustainability and social capital as involvement in voluntary associations and active communities or other social activities. We attempt to construct an economic modelling to take into account relationships between 'Labour', 'Leisure', individual characteristic, and national institutional systems. Empirical investigations would be carried out using the SHARE database. The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), is an infrastructure of micro data that has been created in response to a communication by the European Commission to the Council and the European Parliament (2000) which identified population ageing and its social and economic challenges to growth and prosperity to be among the most pressing challenges of the 21st century in Europe. Data can be used within a Healthy Ageing framework to develop analytic tools that can be adopted, used and modified by economists and other policy oriented specialists with the aim (i) to understand individuals behaviours, defining incentives and constraints that could make public policy more efficient, etc.; (ii) to carry out policy simulation using potential outcome (counterfactual) methods and simulation models; and, (iii) to developing data production on Healthy Ageing by using SHARE data and testing their relevance for policy-based analysis.

Project coordinator

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

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Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 0 Months

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