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Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe: Integrating Activities to Access the Time Dimension and to Enlarge the Cross-national Dimension


We propose to strengthen and extend the access to the "Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe" (SHARE), funded under the 5th framework programme. The existing informational infrastructure of SHARE carries data on health, work and economic status, and family and social networks in 11 countries in the autumn of 2004. At this single point of time, the existing SHARE data sheds light on national differences and its implications on healthy and active ageing. Without adding the time dimension, though, the process of ageing cannot be observed and reactions to the ongoing changes in the institutional environment cannot be traced.

This proposed project will therefore give the existing SHARE infrastructure a longitudinal dimension by collecting a second wave of data and by linking these two waves to understand changes over time. A second extension concerns the countries covered. The current 11 countries cover Continental West European countries from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, but do not include Great Britain and the Central European accession countries. This proposed project will provide access to the data collected in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) by merging the overlapping informational contents, and it will collect new SHARE data in two accession countries.

The resulting database will integrate two existing databases (SHARE 2004 and ELSA 2004) with two databases to be collected (SHARE 2006 and ELSA 2006); it will enable an integration of cross-national and longitudinal methods of analysis; and it will permit free and user-friendly access through a host of access activities. The project will create a key infrastructure that will enable researchers from a broad set of disciplines to analyse the Europe-wide ageing process; to better understand adaptive behaviour in response to population ageing and its induced policy changes; and to develop cross-nationally comparable indicators for key concepts relevant to EU policy.

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