Life course and economic implications of demographic change (LIFECON)
Research group: Macroeconomy and public finances Research group: Labour market and education Research began: 2021 Research ends: 2024 Sponsored by: The Strategic Research Council (SRC)

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Life course and economic implications of demographic change (LIFECON)

Life course and economic implications of demographic change (LIFECON)

This research project provides a broad understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions related to population ageing. It examines various phases of the individual life course, including family formation, working life and health and care at the end of life. It also looks at the implications of demographic changes for the macroeconomy and public finances.

The project will use register and macro-level data and statistical methods that can rigorously address the time trends and direction of associations between factors. The project will provide policy recommendations that help to ensure the sustainability of the welfare state and increase individual, societal, and intergenerational wellbeing.

The project consists of four working packages:

  1. Causes and consequences of changing family structures
  2. Structural change of the labour market and participation in working life
  3. Ageing, health, and care
  4. The resilience of the welfare system

Etla’s part in the project

Etla is participating in all four working packages but is focusing mainly on packages 1, 2 and 4.

In working package 1 Etla has two separate sub-studies. The first focuses on the causal effects of education on family formation and will provide new detailed information about the effects of education choices on cohabitation and fertility outcomes.

The second sub-study focuses on the impact of economic uncertainty on birth rate. Result will show how the economic shocks experienced in childhood affect fertility decision in adulthood.

In working package 2 Etla is studying the impact of adult education on career length. Adult education is often seen as a response to the need to lengthen working careers. However, there is little research on the impact of adult education on employment and retirement among ageing workers. In addition, Etla researchers are participating in a sub-study assessing the causal effects of implementing an increase in the upper limit of the statutory retirement age from 65 to 68 on employment and health. This study is in co-operation with the Population Research Unit of the University of Helsinki

In working package 4 Etla is studying alternative ways to pursue a financially sustainable fiscal policy in an ageing Finland. A sub-study will develop new rule-based ways for adapting to changes in demographic structures. An example of this is automation, which links the size of new birth cohorts to pension benefits and contributions

The effectiveness of fiscal policy is reduced when the proportion of elderly people rises compared to the working-age population. Automatic stabilisers related to taxation and social security change their emphasis as the demographics change. A new question for researchers internationally, it will be studied using statistical analysis. The work package also includes a study of problems related to population decline.


The project consortium includes the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, ETLA Economic Research, and the University of Helsinki.



The official website of the project

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Publications of the research