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From Red to Gray : The "Third Transition" of Aging Populations in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union


  • Mukesh Chawla
  • Gordon Betcherman
  • Arup Banerji


This report focuses on the challenges that the region's aging countries will now face in having to deal with multiple transitions. It argues that their task ahead, though uniquely daunting, is by no means impossible. Indeed, many of the potential problems can be addressed through sensible and thoughtful policies that can be enacted over the next few years. The only danger likely lies in complacency, in not being proactive in addressing the challenges. This report finds, first, that some of the concerns about aging in Eastern European and Former Soviet countries are probably misplaced. Second, the analysis in the report validates concerns about future fiscal strains in some of the region's aging countries, but finds that many of the drivers of higher future public expenditures are unrelated to aging. This report is particularly focused on the future-a future in the region that is critically dependent on actions that countries and societies take now, and over the next few years. The report sends two central messages, which are analyzed against the different patterns of aging across the region. Red light to green light: Growing older does not have to mean growing slower. Aging is not a stop sign for growth-if countries enact policies that boost productivity and labor force participation. Red ink to black ink: Waging sensible policies can ease aging's spending impact. The policies needed to manage much of the expected jump in public spending-especially the impacts on pensions and on health care-are well known. They need only to be enacted and implemented.

Suggested Citation

  • Mukesh Chawla & Gordon Betcherman & Arup Banerji, 2007. "From Red to Gray : The "Third Transition" of Aging Populations in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6741, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:6741

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. World Bank, 2010. "Taking Stock of Recent Migration Flows in the European Union," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2965, The World Bank.
    4. Corduneanu Carmen & Miloş Laura Raisa, 2012. "Impact of Population Aging on the Dynamics of Stock Markets. The Case of Five CEE Countries," Scientific Annals of Economics and Business, De Gruyter Open, vol. 59(1), pages 107-114, July.
    5. Niall O’Higgins, 2010. "Youth Labour Markets in Europe and Central Asia," Working Papers id:2740, eSocialSciences.
    6. Ondøej Schneider, 2009. "Reforming Pensions in Europe: Economic Fundamentals and Political Factors," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 59(4), pages 292-308, Oktober.
    7. Harkat, Tahar & Driouchi, Ahmed, 2017. "Demographic Dividend & Economic Development in Easter and Central European Countries," MPRA Paper 83481, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. World Bank, 2012. "Montenegro After the Crisis : Towards a Smaller and More Efficient Government," World Bank Other Operational Studies 12821, The World Bank.
    9. Arslanhan, Selin & Caner, Asena & Helvacioglu, Kerem & Saglam, Ismail & Teksoz, Tuncay, 2012. "An economic analysis of tobacco elimination policies in Turkey," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(2), pages 149-160.
    10. World Bank, 2009. "Pensions in Crisis : Europe and Central Asia Regional Policy Note," World Bank Other Operational Studies 18728, The World Bank.
    11. Michele Gragnolati & Ole Hagen Jorgensen & Romero Rocha & Anna Fruttero, 2011. "Growing Old in an Older Brazil : Implications of Population Ageing on Growth, Poverty, Public Finance, and Service Delivery," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2351, March.
    12. Crespo Cuaresma, Jesus & Lábaj, Martin & Pružinský, Patrik, 2014. "Prospective ageing and economic growth in Europe," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 3(C), pages 50-57.
    13. Lucilla Maria Bruni & Jamele Rigolini & Sara Troiano, 2016. "Forever Young?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 24996, The World Bank.


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