The central research theme of this proposal is the study of social change (skills, productivity, attitudes and beliefs) in Europe along cohort lines and as a function of changing age composition. Using demographic methods, age-specific and cohort-specific changes shall be quantitatively disentangled. The impact of migration flows as well as fertility differentials combined with intergenerational transmissions will be taken into account. It is expected that viewed together, these analyses will result in significant new insights and represent frontier research about likely social and economic challenges associated with ageing and demographic change in Europe and the appropriate policies for coping with them. Unlike projections of long-term economic growth or energy use, demographic forecasts tend to have comparatively low margins of error, even for forecasts half a century ahead. Traits that change systematically along age or cohort lines may therefore be projected with some degree of accuracy, which in turn can allow governments and individuals to better foresee and improve policies for predictable social change. The study will investigate two major topics, the first relating to human capital, skills, and work performance; the second relating to beliefs and attitudes in Europe. Understanding age variation in productivity and how to improve senior workers skills and capacities are paramount for ageing countries. Moreover, individual-level demographic behaviour can have aggregate level implications, including changing societal values and belief structures. The binding element is how such projections will improve one s capacity to foresee and hence develop more targeted policies that relate to ageing societies.
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