Ageing and Dependency 1

Sanderson, W.C. & Scherbov, S. ORCID: (2023). Ageing and Dependency 1. In: The Routledge Handbook of the Economics of Ageing. Eds. Bloom, D.E., Sousa-Poza, A., & Sunde, U., pp. 506-519 London, UK: Routledge. ISBN 978-100081277-0 10.4324/9781003150398-33.

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One of the most frequently used measures of population ageing is the old-age dependency ratio (OADR). The OADR not only has a mathematical definition but also has an interpretation. Beginning at age 65, people are classified as being old. They are also classified as being dependent. We show that the OADR has two main problems. First, using data from the National Transfer Accounts Project, the Global Burden of Disease Project, the Survey of Health and Retirement in Europe, and an analytic model of pension plans, we show that it is inappropriate to characterize groups of people 65 and over as being dependent regardless of place or time. Dependency is not a demographic characteristic. Second, we show that the OADR is inconsistent. Populations with the same OADR are very different from one another in dimensions relevant to ageing.
We propose removing the fixed connection between chronological age and dependency. Using the characteristics approach to the study of population ageing, we provide a new measure of population ageing that does this.
The OADR has little to do with dependency. We argue for moving away from its view of dependency to a more clearly defined and neutral one. The relationship between old age and dependency can still be studied, but its nature should not be assumed without evidence.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: Population and Just Societies (POPJUS)
Population and Just Societies (POPJUS) > Social Cohesion, Health, and Wellbeing (SHAW)
Depositing User: Michaela Rossini
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2024 12:05
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2024 12:05

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