A cost of living longer: projections of the effects of prospective mortality improvement on economic support ratios for 14 advanced economies

Nick Parr, Jackie Li, Leonie Tickle

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The economic implications of increasing life expectancy are important concerns for governments in developed countries. The aims of this study were as follows: (i) to forecast mortality for 14 developed countries from 2010 to 2050, using the Poisson Common Factor Model; (ii) to project the effects of the forecast mortality patterns on support ratios; and (iii) to calculate labour force participation increases which could offset these effects. The forecast gains in life expectancy correlate negatively with current fertility. Pre-2050 support ratios are projected to fall most in Japan and east-central and southern Europe, and least in Sweden and Australia. A post-2050 recovery is projected for most east-central and southern European countries. The increases in labour force participation needed to counterbalance the effects of mortality improvement are greatest for Japan, Poland, and the Czech Republic, and least for the USA, Canada, Netherlands, and Sweden. The policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-200
Number of pages20
JournalPopulation Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • ageing
  • dependency burden
  • developed countries
  • labour force
  • mortality
  • population projection
  • support ratio

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