Institutional Reforms in Ageing Societies: Legal and Political Aspects

Funding: OTKA 
Duration: January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2018 (47 months)

Increasing life expectancy and declining fertility led to significant changes in age structure and population in EU countries. The number of working-age people has shrunk. Expected to continue, this trend places a burden on the financial sustainability and social adequacy of pension systems, with additional costs for health and long-term care for elderly people. Older generations play a key role in elections, making governments less prone to reform pension systems. The project "Institutional reforms in ageing societies: legal and political aspects" aimed at revealing how institutions can guarantee long-term sustainability of intergenerational redistribution by analyzing political conditions for welfare reforms.

A major innovative component of the research is to assess the role of family voting among potential institutional reforms. Moreover, by reinterpreting the redistributive nature of present welfare systems, the project brings about a conceptual shift from mitigating poverty to financing life cycles. The project combined qualitative and quantitative methods. Besides the conceptual review of the institutional reform framework, the mixed-method research design of the project also included a legal analysis of constitutions and other legal documents.

In addition to usual hypothesis testing, the project is timely because it tackles the challenge of finding policy reform opportunities. The life cycle frame of welfare redistribution opens new avenues for policy reforms and is particularly relevant for long-term sustainability of welfare systems in Central and Eastern Europe. The dissemination of research findings in journals and conferences provides policymakers evidence-based tools in adequately managing the political and macrofinancial challenges of ageing.

Principal investigator (PI):

Attila Bartha 
Research Fellow 
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