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Age and generations: a general introduction

Didier Blanchet

Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, 2017, issue 491-492, 9-22

Abstract: [eng] This issue of the journal brings together five contributions devoted to comparing standards of living depending on age and generation : methodological contributions relating to equivalence scales and to the econometrics of pseudopanels ; the initial results for France of National Transfer Accounts (NTA) that break down National Accounts aggregates on the basis of age ; and comparisons of pension entitlements between public and private sector employees. We return to four of the questions they raise. The first is the issue of separating age, period, and cohort effects : how it is conducted should depend on the question asked. We then advocate a plural approach to intergenerational inequalities, consisting in looking at them from several complementary angles : for example, by referring not only to monetary income, but also to health, and access to education and employment, or housing. We continue by examining the concept of “ lifecycle deficit”, which is calculated by the NTA, and is the gap between what a generation consumes and what it produces through its labour throughout its existence. We discuss how it ties in with the broader issue of sustainability, which is the prospective part of the issue of intergenerational fairness. A minimalistic criterion of intergenerational fairness could be that each generation should be watchful to ensure that the next ones enjoy living conditions at least as good as it did. Finally, we comment on the various possible avenues for comparing pension entitlements in the public and private sectors : the difficulty of measuring contribution effort is an argument in favour of an overall approach combining direct salary and all of the pension entitlements.

Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:nse:ecosta:ecostat_2017_491-492_3