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Demographic Change Demand a New Life-Course for Aging Society

Taking a clue from Germany, scientists of the Rostock Center for the study of Demographic Change, have reported that the total number of working hours will be //soon reduced, if the trend of low participation of the elderly in the labor market continue.

The Rostock Center is a research institution, which works in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and the University of Rostock. The scientists at the institute explained that demographic change necessitates, re-distribution of the works more evenly over the ages of life and it needs to become more flexible.

Using the newly developed Rostock Index, James W. Vaupel, Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR), and Elke Loichinger show that as early as in 20 years from now, the hours worked per capita will be reduced by 8 percent, should the few young continue to work a lot and the many elderly continue to work a little. This is because the baby boom generation, today around 40 years of age, will soon constitute the older workforce. An increase in productivity could absorb the reduction in manpower and maintain the standard of living, but the distribution of work would be even more unequal than it is today: More people would not be working at all.

Demographic change and the ensuing consequences for the labor market and macroeconomic development are challenging society and politics. At the same time, they open new prospects for individuals to shape their life-course and take advantage of opportunities. Future generations may wonder about the way we concentrate learning in the first phase of life, work in the middle of life, and leisure in the later years, when our children no longer need us, Vaupel and Loichinger point out. The rigid patterns of biographies and the low employment rates at older ages are no longer sustainable in the face of demographic change. ‘The 20th century was a century of redistribution of income; the
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