The age group above retirement age is the fastest growing age group in many countries. As most diseases and disorders occur in higher ages, this implies that there will be higher demands on the health care and pension systems. Even though many have argued that societies are facing an economic and demographic challenge, it is arguably also a great success; more people reach old age and live longer. But some groups of individuals tend to be healthier than others.
The current flows of people migrating from Syria and other war-torn countries have captured public attention. It has become clear that governments in Europe are ill-prepared to deal with the large scale displacement and movement of people. Much of public debate has centred on ‘spreading the burden’ of accommodating and integrating refugees within national and local communities. Yet migration can – and does – influence the supply of skills and expertise within the labour market.
The Americans with Disabilities Act had important impacts on improving accessibility and increasing public awareness about the struggles of people with disabilities. The ADA made the US a world leader – its language the basis for national policies in the US and the UK, as well as the UN Convention on Disability Rights.
Over the last decade while we have both been conducting research into undocumented migration the sanctions regime has grown, extending further into civil society. Employers, landlords, banks and other agencies now all are charged with a legal obligation to police immigration. The law says that they may not offer employment, accommodation or other services to those who are undocumented and a failure to do so poses risks in terms of serious penalties, such as fines and even imprisonment. We have become increasingly concerned about the consequences of this regime, where the focus is on punishment, on naming and shaming and on public demonstrations of state punitive action, particularly in the form of raids on workplaces and on private homes. Continue reading
In a September Openpop.org essay, I wrote about a recently published paper by myself and Michelle Maroto that sought to uncover possible reasons why the Americans with Disabilities Act had not delivered when it came to improving employment outcomes. While we focused our attention mainly on institutional, state-level and individual characteristics over time, we noted that important supply-and-demand factors—especially occupational structures—are key to understanding barriers to the labor market, as well as poor earnings.
EBENEZER SCROOGE, from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” famously suggests that the poor could “decrease the surplus population” by dying rather than entering the workhouse. Since then, the dynamics of the world economy changed and industrialized countries’ fertility dropped by more than half between the mid-nineteenth and the early twentieth century.
The current economic downturn is having major adverse impacts on the economic performance of North America and Europe, causing many countries to enter into recession. Besides a considerable fall in asset prices, there have been substantial increases in unemployment and financial hardship (Scarpetta et al. 2010). In particular, the crisis has hit the young population very hard (Bell et al. 2011). According to official OECD statistics (2013), the overall unemployment rate for the working age population (15-65) has increased by +3.3% between 2007 and 2012 in the EU-21. In the same time frame, unemployment rate has increased by +4.6% for young people aged 30-34, by +5.1% for those aged 25-29, and by +7.3 for those aged 20-24.
Do more older voters really lead to more pensioner power? Most rich democracies today are faced with significant population aging, as a combined result of longer life spans and lower fertility rates. Many now fear that elderly voters are becoming an immensely powerful political pressure group. After all, aging populations do not just entail more elderly people who are eligible to vote. These elderly electors also tend to actually go voting more often than younger voters. A number of ‘elderly power’ theorists therefore suggest that population aging pressurizes politicians into providing ever higher pensions and other pro-elderly policies – a claim that is often mistaken.