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)

Responsible for research:

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 relating to population ageing. It focuses on various phases of the individual life course, including family formation, working life and health and care at the end of life. It also focuses on implications of demographic changes for the macroeconomy and public finances.

The research will be performed using register and macro-level data and statistical methods that can rigorously address the time trends and direction of the associations between factors. The project will provide policy recommendations that will 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 labor market and participating in working life
  3. Ageing, health, and care
  4. The resiliency of the welfare system

Etla’s part in the project

Etla participates in all four work packages but focuses mainly on packages 1, 2 and 4.

In working package 1 Etla has two separate sub-study. First focuses on causal effects of education on family formation and provides new detailed information about the effects of education choices on the cohabitation and fertility outcomes.

The second study focuses on impact of economic uncertainty to birth rate. The study assesses how the economic shocks experienced in childhood affect fertility decision in adulthood.

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

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

The effectiveness of fiscal policy is reduced when the share of elderly people rises as compared to the working-age population. The various automatic stabilizers related to taxation and social security are differently emphasized as the demographic change. This internationally new question is studied with statistical analysis. The work package also includes a study of problems related to reducing population.


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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