Financing Longevity: The Economics of Pensions, Health and Long-term Care Insurance

This special issue of The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, edited by Anita Mukherjee and APARC's Asia Health Policy Program Director Karen Eggleston, focuses on a key challenge around the world: financing the many needs that come with longer lives, lower fertility, and older population age structures. The triumph of longevity can pose a challenge to the fiscal integrity of public and private pension systems and other social support programs disproportionately used by older adults. This challenge is a formidable but ultimately happy one, as people around the world today can expect to live longer and healthier lives.

The countries and regions studied in this special issue include many that are leading the world in this longevity transition with relatively old population age structures, especially in Europe and Japan. Other areas such as Latin American countries and especially China are rapidly catching up, or have large total populations of older adults at relatively low per capita income and little formal social security, such as India. 

The two special contributions and eight research papers with their accompanying perspective pieces collected in this issue cover comparative research on over 30 European countries and 17 Latin American countries, as well as studies on Australia, the Netherlands, the United States, India, China and Japan. The contributions analyze a variety of topics within the broad rubric of financing longevity, including the ways in which the elderly cope with caregiving and cognitive decline; how pension structures may exacerbate existing inequalities; and innovative ways to extend old-age financial security to those working outside the formal sector in developing countries. The variety of topics covered in these papers reflects the many angles from which research is needed to inform policies intended to improve the financial well-being for the world’s ageing population.