Reversing the Malthusian paradigm on retirement age

Patrick Deboosere and Hadewijch Vandenheede recently wrote an article about the similarities between the Malthusian approach of the population question and the the decision to increase the age of retirement in Belgium. Their article is now published in the online journal Revue Quetelet/Quetelet Journal (Vol. 3, n° 1, pp. 75-95)DOI: 10.14428/rqj2014.03.01.03

Summary of the article:

Demography always influenced political thinking. The recent decision to increase the age of retirement in many high-income countries is driven by a dramatic change in the age composition of the population. We argue that there is in fact no need to increase the age of retirement and that many aspects of the current evolution both in demography and in economy are overlooked. Moreover, some demographic indicators such as life expectancy or the dependency ratio are often interpreted in a simplistic and erroneous way. The systematic use of demographic indicators to discuss the sustainability of the pension system and of the social security system is in our view often inspired by the supply-side way of economic thinking. A crucial aspect is that productivity increase is ignored or minimalized in the discussion. In this regard the discussion has many similarities with the Malthusian approach of the population question.

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