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The economic well-being of older people in international perspective: a critical review

  • Disney, Richard
  • Whitehouse, Edward

This paper surveys a dozen international comparative studies of poverty, income distribution and older people in industrialized countries using data up to the mid-1990s. It addresses a series of questions. At what level are the incomes of the elderly relative to the population as a whole? How has this changed over the past two decades? How many of the old are poor? How many of the poor are old? Are the oldest of the old poorer than younger pensioners are? The results show that the incomes of older people are typically around 80 per cent of incomes of the whole population. This ratio has been increasing over the past two decades in most countries. Although there remain pockets of poverty among the elderly, the old are generally represented proportionally or under-represented among the poor.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 10398.

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Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10398
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  1. Ruth Hancock, 1998. "Can housing wealth alleviate poverty among Britain's older population?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(3), pages 249-272, August.
  2. Michael F. Förster, 2000. "Trends and Driving Factors in Income Distribution and Poverty in the OECD Area," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 42, OECD Publishing.
  3. Edward R. Whitehouse, 2003. "The Value of Pension Entitlements: A Model of Nine OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 9, OECD Publishing.
  4. Jonathan Feinstein & Daniel McFadden, 1987. "The Dynamics of Housing Demand by the Elderly: Wealth, Cash Flow, and Demographic Effects," NBER Working Papers 2471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 2001. "Cross-country comparisons of pensioners’ incomes," MPRA Paper 16345, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1989. "But They Don't Want to Reduce Housing Equity," NBER Working Papers 2859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  8. Whitehouse, Edward, 2001. "Pension systems in 15 countries compared: the value of entitlements," MPRA Paper 14751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Richard Disney, 1996. "Can We Afford to Grow Older?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026204157x, June.
  10. Bateman,Hazel & Kingston,Geoffrey & Piggott,John, 2001. "Forced Saving," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521481625.
    • Bateman,Hazel & Kingston,Geoffrey & Piggott,John, 2001. "Forced Saving," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521484718.
  11. Whitehouse, Edward, 2000. "How Poor are the Old? A Survey of Evidence from 44 Countries," MPRA Paper 14177, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Megbolugbe, Isaac & Sa-Aadu, J. & Shilling, James D., 1999. "Elderly Female-Headed Households and the Decision to Trade Down," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 285-300, December.
  13. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  15. Ermisch, John F. & Jenkins, Stephen P., 1999. "Retirement and housing adjustment in later life: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 311-333, June.
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