Agar Brugiavini is Professor of Economics at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, she is Director of the Ca' Foscari International College and Dean of the Venice International University-VIU, she is Research Affiliate of the Institute for Fiscal Studies-IFS, London. She obtained a Ph.D. in Economics at the London School of Economics-UK under the supervision of Prof. Mervyn King, and was Visiting Professor at Northwestern University USA. She has been co-Editor of Research in Economics. She has contributed to many volumes of the NBER project “Social Security around the World”Â. Her research interests include: the behaviour of individuals and household in the areas of consumption, saving and labour supply, pension reforms and insurance markets. She plays a key role in the SHARE project (Survey of Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe). More recently she has been carrying out research on the economics of ageing, looking at the relationship between health conditions and economic behaviour and also on gender economics.
Economics of aeging
Population ageing is one of the main challenges of the XXI century, with important consequences for policies related to pensions, health and long-term care expenses but
also on the intergenerational solidarity and cohesion.
The “Economics of Ageing” deals with these challenges by looking at the provision of economic resources in old age, but also at the behavior of individuals, e.g. retirement decisions. These choices cannot abstract from other dimensions of the ageing process, such as health.
The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) has shown great potential in answering different policy questions and bringing new insights for policy makers in different European countries. Three themes can serve as examples.
1. Labour supply. Ageing and unused capacity
The retirement age has increased in many countries, but less than life expectancy
and this implies that individuals must make careful use of financial resources, that should support their consumption over a much longer retirement period. Europe witnesses the presence of a large number of individuals who have retired aged 65 or younger. Most of the young old who are currently retired were induced to retire early by substantial financial incentives, but this can lead to an “early retirement trap”.
2. Long term care provision
One consequence of population ageing is the increase of demand for care services by older people, due to the limitations that they may experience when performing basic activities of daily living (ADL). Family members, and in particular adult children most frequently provide the bulk of care for older adults (e.g informal caregivers). Informal care may decrease the public long-term care (LTC) expenditures since it is often a substitute of formal homecare.
3. Maternity and labour market outcomes
The continuity and the length of work histories are greatly influenced by the events over the life cycle. This holds especially for women. Gender differences in work-careers and the role of women within the family usually lead to reduced pension rights and lower retirement income in comparison to men. Among many channels maternity is likely to be the major driver in explaining such differences.