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Different societies, same solutions? A critical reflection on ‘ageing as a burden’ in China and the European Union

Different societies, same solutions? A critical reflection on ‘ageing as a burden’ in China and the European Union
Different societies, same solutions? A critical reflection on ‘ageing as a burden’ in China and the European Union
■Policy makers in China and the EU have stated that their ageing societies are
a burden for their pension systems and that the retirement age should be
increased and costs strictly controlled. But is pension retrenchment the only
viable response to societal ageing?
■ Despite the large differences between China and the EU, societal ageing in
both regions has led to the development of public pension systems, which
play an important stabilising role for these societies. Given the high costs of
these systems, the near-constant debate about pension-system reform and
their financial sustainability is understandable.
■ However, the strong focus of policy makers on the extension of working
life to contain these costs is misguided: In Europe, many citizens are
economically inactive long before retirement age and would benefit more
from improved education and employment opportunities. Similarly, in China
(where grandmotherly care is important for many parents) simply raising the
very low female retirement age without a simultaneous extension of public
child care would probably reduce activity rates of younger women, resulting
in lower contribution to pension systems.
■ Pension systems exist because ageing populations are an integral part of
developed economies and policy-makers should embrace the trend. Instead of
simply expecting people to work longer, they should address the inequalities
and obstacles preventing citizens from rewarding involvement in the economy
and thus contributing to pension systems. This study outlines the current
challenges of these systems in Europe and China and proposed some new
approaches to address them
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Feng, Jing
970526ea-21bb-4589-b14d-d6770bd8fd3a
Meyer, Traute
ee469bf0-ab32-43ac-9f25-1261c24123fe
Feng, Jing
970526ea-21bb-4589-b14d-d6770bd8fd3a
Meyer, Traute
ee469bf0-ab32-43ac-9f25-1261c24123fe

Feng, Jing and Meyer, Traute (2017) Different societies, same solutions? A critical reflection on ‘ageing as a burden’ in China and the European Union Shanghai. Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung 26pp.

Record type: Monograph (Project Report)

Abstract

■Policy makers in China and the EU have stated that their ageing societies are
a burden for their pension systems and that the retirement age should be
increased and costs strictly controlled. But is pension retrenchment the only
viable response to societal ageing?
■ Despite the large differences between China and the EU, societal ageing in
both regions has led to the development of public pension systems, which
play an important stabilising role for these societies. Given the high costs of
these systems, the near-constant debate about pension-system reform and
their financial sustainability is understandable.
■ However, the strong focus of policy makers on the extension of working
life to contain these costs is misguided: In Europe, many citizens are
economically inactive long before retirement age and would benefit more
from improved education and employment opportunities. Similarly, in China
(where grandmotherly care is important for many parents) simply raising the
very low female retirement age without a simultaneous extension of public
child care would probably reduce activity rates of younger women, resulting
in lower contribution to pension systems.
■ Pension systems exist because ageing populations are an integral part of
developed economies and policy-makers should embrace the trend. Instead of
simply expecting people to work longer, they should address the inequalities
and obstacles preventing citizens from rewarding involvement in the economy
and thus contributing to pension systems. This study outlines the current
challenges of these systems in Europe and China and proposed some new
approaches to address them

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Published date: December 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 419528
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419528
PURE UUID: a0cf9e3c-4869-45ce-b370-862f3e62a33b
ORCID for Traute Meyer: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0767-8351

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Date deposited: 13 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 30 Jan 2020 01:30

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