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Discussion Papers

Population Europe’s discussion paper series provides in-depth insights into contemporary discussions among demographic experts from research, policy and civil society at the European level.


Discussion Paper No. 6


Grünbuch Alternde Gesellschaft: Wie das "neue Altern" unser Leben verändern wird (2017)

Editors: James W. Vaupel and Andreas Edel

Das vorliegende Grünbuch versammelt eine breite Palette an Themen und bringt führende Experten aus unterschiedlichen wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen zusammen – von der Demografie und Soziologie über die Psychologie, Epidemiologie hin zu den Wirtschafts-, Politik- und Geschichtswissenschaften –, um in kurzen Beiträgen einige grundlegende Fragen evidenzbasiert zur Diskussion zu stellen. Es ist klar, dass die dabei behandelten Themen weder Anspruch auf Vollständigkeit erheben noch die Vielfalt des Demografischen Wandels insgesamt abbilden können (zu dem ein deutlich weiteres Spektrum an Fragestellungen gehört, etwa im Bereich der Familien- und Migrationspolitik). Die Beiträge der Experten sollen zum Nachdenken anregen, wie wir mit dem Phänomen der steigenden Lebenserwartung umgehen und den Austausch über eines der wichtigsten Zukunftsthemen unserer Gesellschaft intensivieren können. Denn am Ende ist zumindest eines sicher: Der  Demografische Wandel.

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Discussion Paper No. 5


Family Diversity and its Challenges for Policy Makers in Europe (2017)

Authors: Daniela Vono de Vilhena and Livia Sz. Oláh

The aim of this discussion paper is to provide up-to-date empirical evidence and policy recommendations related to family issues in Europe. The content presented is based on the main findings of the large-scale EU Seventh Framework project - “Changing families and sustainable societies: Policy contexts and diversity over the life course and across generations” (FamiliesAndSocieties).  From February 2013 until January 2017, the consortium brought together a total of 25 leading universities and research institutes from 15 European countries, three transnational civil society actors and a large number of national and international stakeholders. The general coordination of the project was carried out at Stockholm University by project coordinator Associate Professor  Livia Sz. Oláh, who was assisted by a management team comprised of Professor Gunnar Andersson and Associate Professor Gerda Neyer.

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Discussion Paper No. 4


Social Vulnerability as an Analytical Perspective (2017)

Author: Ann Zimmermann  

Europe is and further will be facing new challenges related to the consequences of demographic change. Among other socio-demographic transformations, population ageing is inevitable in most European states due to long-term demographic trends. Therefore, social and health policies are focusing more and more on the circumstances and effects of longer lives, e.g. with regard to promoting active and healthy ageing, encouraging longer working lifetimes and designing new public-private pension arrangements to ensure adequate material well-being in old age. But what about those individuals who do not remain active and healthy as they age, are exposed to socio-economic disadvantages, deteriorating health conditions or other individual stress factors? Moreover, has the vulnerability of different groups changed due to the socio-economic transformations of the last decades? How have policy changes that were introduced as a response to new social and economic structures affected the social vulnerability of different groups?

This discussion paper seeks to sketch out social vulnerability as an analytical perspective to better understand the current situation and the long-term trends of social vulnerability in different welfare state regimes and under various political and historical settings. It is written within the scope of the project “On the edge of societies: New vulnerable populations, emerging challenges for social policies and future demands for social innovation.

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Discussion Paper No. 3

EU Civil Society and Demographic Change (2015)

Author:  Ann Zimmermann  

This paper focuses on the views and concepts of European civil society actors on the issue of demographic change and related fields. Chapter 1 clarifies the scope of this paper in terms of how EU civil society is understood, what aspects of demographic change and population policy are considered and which period of time is cov­ered. Chapter 2 provides examples of institutionalised forms of exchange between the EU and civil society organisations at the European Commission level in areas relevant to the issue of demographic change. Chapter 3 focuses on activities and positions related to demographic change by the European Economic and Social Committee, which – as a consultative body of the EU – provides representatives of economic and social interest groups a formal platform to express their opinions on EU issues. Chapter 4 presents selected EU civil society organisa­tions that are active in the fields relevant to this paper and gives an overview of how they approach these issues and what aspects they have considered to be particularly important in the last five years. In chapter 5 we offer some final conclusions.

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Discussion Paper No. 2

Demographic Change on the Political Agenda of the European Commission (2015)

Author:  Ann Zimmermann  

This paper offers insights into how demographic change is discussed as a political challenge at the European Union (EU) level, specifically the European Commission. Chapter 1 provides basic conceptual specifications and definitions on how population policies and demographic change are understood in this paper. Chapter 2 describes the institutional set-up and framework of population policies at the EU level. Chapter 3 gives a short overview of how demographic issues are institutionally framed as areas of political action within the European Commission. Chapter 4 sheds light on the role of demographic change in the current political strategies and guidelines of the Euro­pean Commission. Chapter 5 represents the main part of the paper and delineates how demographic change has developed as a political issue on the agenda of the European Commission over time. Here the focus is not on implemented population policy measures, but on how demographic issues are discussed: Which topics are high on the political agenda? Which aspects are raised? Which approaches are proposed to deal with the problems identified? How did the debate develop over time? Finally we will provide some conclusions in chapter 6.

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Discussion Paper No. 1

Perspectives of Policy Relevant Population Studies (2012)

Authors: Tommy Bengtsson, Jane C. Falkingham, Anne Gauthier, Nico van Nimwegen, James W. Vaupel, Harald Wilkoszewski, and Frans J. Willekens  

This document highlights some of the emerging issues in policy-relevant population research in light of the fundamental demographic developments of our times. It sets an agenda of the most urgent topics and most exciting approaches in the field of policy-relevant population studies. The four sections of the document introduce and elaborate on main thematic fields of demographic research. In these, we handle the most relevant topics and enquiries on population dynamics that impact mar­kets, society, and policies today and in the near future. Ageing, health and mortality is the first field and focuses on the relevance of changes over time in longevity and healthy ageing that have made population ageing a mass phenom­enon, as well as questions current employment and welfare schemes. Second, the fertility and family field sheds light on the fall of intended and actual birth rates, changes in family forms, types and relations, and new insights on the intersection between family and work life. Next, migration and integration aims to understand the determinants of migration and the consequences for the receiving and sending coun­tries in terms of migration’s impact on employment and welfare systems, as well as the paths of individual lives. Lastly, the field of cross-cutting research topics handles issues that go beyond traditional demographic research, such as interregional development or intergenerational rela­tions, among others, which have become new wells of demographic interest due to their societal relevance. Finally, the last section presents a short review of the Methods and Infrastructure available to research.

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