Measuring Intergenerational Justice in Aging Societies

Dr Pieter Vanhuysse, European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

Population aging has led to a renewed interest in the notion of justice between the generations. But efforts to measure intergenerational justice in practice have lagged behind. I propose a pragmatic empirical snapshot measure for 29 OECD countries around 2010. Sustainability is the moral starting point: ‘enough and as good’ ought to be left by each generation for the next. The measure is composed of four dimensions. Three dimensions capture policy outcomes that leave legacy burdens towards future generations; the fourth captures policy spending bias towards elderly citizens. These dimensions are aggregated into a synthetic intergenerational justice value per country, using a benefit-of-the-doubt weighting method that respects the revealed preferences of democratically elected governments. I discuss cross-national results and a number of policy ideas for boosting intergenerational justice, ranging from the obvious (early childhood investment) to the utopian (proxy votes for children).

About the speaker
Pieter Vanhuysse is Head of Research and Deputy Director at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna (affiliated to the UN). He obtained a Master in econom-ics at the University of Leuven, and an MSc in politics as well as a PhD in political economy at the London School of Economics. Pieter has been a Junior Fellow of the Institute for Ad-vanced Study at Collegium Budapest, VATAT Research Fellow of the Higher Education Com-mittee of the State of Israel, and Assistant Professor at the University of Haifa. Pieter's re-search focuses on political sociology and comparative political economy of human capital, pensions, and other public policies in ageing OECD democracies. Pieter's research has been published in over forty journals, including Public Choice, J. Social Policy, J. European Social Policy, J. Public Policy, J. European Public Policy, Political Studies, and West European Pol-itics. Pieter has co-edited Post-Communist Welfare Pathways (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and Ageing Populations in Post-Industrial Democracies (Routledge/ECPR, 2012), and has authored Divide and Pacify: Strategic Social Policies and Political Protests in Post-Communist Democra-cies (CEU Press, 2006), which was nominated for the American Sociological Association’s Best Book Award for Political Sociology.

Venue: Conference room

Date: 13 February 2014

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT