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Coordinated by Alexia Fürnkranz-Prskawetz (Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna Institute of Demography)

in collaboration with

Jože Sambt (University of Ljubljana), Robert Gál (Hungarian Demographic Research Institute, Budapest), Tommy Bengtsson (Lund University, School of Economics and Management), Agnieszka Chłoń-Domińczak (Warsaw School of Economics), Concepció Patxot (University of Barcelona)

and a consortium of 9 research institutions.

Ageing Europe: An application of National Transfer Accounts (NTA) for explaining and projecting trends in public finances

The recent economic crisis felt throughout the world has placed focus in Europe on a topic that has been looming on the horizon for some time. The European population is ageing at a rapid rate. Within the next few decades, the changing ratio between workers and the retired will produce serious difficulties in financing public benefits for the elderly at the current level in most European countries. While some countries have undergone reforms of their public welfare systems (most prominently their pension systems), the need for further reforms is obvious considering the high levels of public debts in many of the European countries.

The guiding principle of our project was the argument that analysts can adequately explain and project public finances and derive evidence-based options for policy reforms only if they consider the whole system of inter-generational transfers, public and private. These transfers reflect how demographic, social and economic change interact with one another.

The AGENTA project aimed at explaining the past and forecasting the future of taxes and public transfers and services in the light of demographic change in the European Union.

Conceptually AGENTA put a special emphasis on

  • the links between the public and the private sector (particularly households) in providing resources in the dependent periods of the life cycle;
  • the links between the different components of the public budget (current investments in the health and other human capital of children shape the need for services and the size of the public budget in the future);
  • the definition of stages of the life cycle, such as childhood, active age and old age;
  • the analysis of how changing life courses impact economic activity during the life-cycle as well as the timing and the circumstances surrounding retirement decisions.

The acronym of the project, AGENTA, has a double reference. We used the new method of National Transfer Accounts to analyse the economic consequences of population ageing. In addition, the output of the project was strongly policy oriented, offering an AGENDA for preparing for old-age societies.

The collaborative research project was launched in January 2014 and finished in December 2017.

This project received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613247.

For more information, please consult the Project Website

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