An Age Perspective on Economic Well-Being and Social Protection in Nine OECD Countries
This paper quantifies the economic well-being of different age groups and the extent of their reliance on incomes from public and private sources. The aim is to establish how social benefits, and the taxes needed to finance them, affect income levels and disparities across different age groups. Results are compared across nine OECD countries using household micro-data and microsimulation models to illustrate the influence of market income patterns, household structures and social protection measures on the income distribution among and between different age groups. We use information from the late 1990s to establish a "distributional baseline" that refers to an early phase of the projected increase in dependency ratios and also pre-dates some of the major reforms that are introduced to address these. Results even for this period show that social protection was already largely "old-age" protection, with those aged 65 and over typically receiving almost three times the (net) cash transfers of the average person. In most countries, the incidence of "low" incomes was nevertheless higher among old-age individuals than for the population as a whole. We argue, however, that the cross-country evidence suggests some scope for re-balancing social protection spending without necessarily compromising distributional objectives.
inequality, poverty, social protection, ageing, demographics, microsimulation
For a number of reasons, incomes vary strongly with age. The nature of this variation is of interest for a wide range of policy purposes. Since age structures differ across countries, knowledge about the incomes earned by different age groups is also necessary for understanding and interpreting international comparisons of overall inequality. This paper quantifies the economic well-being of different age groups and the extent to which they rely on incomes from public and private sources. The analysis aims at establishing how social benefits, and the taxes needed to finance them, affect income levels and income disparities across different age groups. Results are compared across nine OECD countries.Les revenus varient grandement avec l’âge pour un certain nombre de raisons. La nature de ces variations est intéressante à plus d’un égard à des fins politiques. Comme la structure des âges diffère d’un pays à l’autre, l’information relative aux revenus perçus par les différents groupes d’âge est aussi nécessaire pour comprendre et interpréter les comparaisons internationales de l’inégalité. Ce document quantifie le bien-être économique des différents groupes d’âge et montre dans quelle mesure ces derniers dépendent de revenus provenant de sources publiques et privées. L’analyse tend à établir comment les prestations sociales, ainsi que les impôts et contributions sociales devant les financer, influencent les niveaux et les disparités des revenus parmi différents groupes d’âge. Le document compare les résultats pour neuf pays de l’OCDE.
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