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Political Demography

Global Political Demography: The Politics of Population Change

Together with Achim Goerres (University of Duisburg-Essen), Pieter Vanhuysse is bringing out a coedited book contracted with Palgrave in open access on ‘Global Political Demography: The Politics of Population Change’. The book aims to present a big-picture descriptive analysis of the interplay of demography and politics in all major macro-regions of the world. We asked our contributors (predominantly hardcore demographers) focus on the major political aspects (causes, consequences, processes) of demographic change (whether population ageing, youth bulges or migration) since 1990 and up to 2040. All analyses of the book are internationally comparative. Macro-regions that we will be covering include: 

  • Africa: Maghreb
  • Africa: Sub-Saharan (Ivory Coast and Uganda)
  • Americas: Brazil & Argentina
  • Americas: USA & Canada
  • Asia: India, Pakistan & Bangladesh
  • Asia: Indonesia & Malaysia
  • Asia: Middle East
  • Asia: South Korea and Japan
  • Australia and New Zealand
  • China, Macao, Hong Kong & Taiwan
  • Europe: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
  • Europe: Continental
  • Europe: Central and Eastern

All macro-region chapters have been written by experts both in the discipline and in the particular region in question, including for instance by the deputy director of the Moscow Institute of Demography and Russia’s foremost demographer Sergei Sakharov on Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and by the Director of International Institute for Population Sciences in India, K.S James. In addition, to better frame these macro-regional analyses we also have commissioned chapters on:  

  • The Political Demography of Migration across the Globe, by Ronald Skeldon (University of Sussex)
  • The Political Demography of  Ethnicity and Religion in Demographic Change, by Vegard Skirbekk (Columbia University)
  • The Political Demography of Youth Bulges, by Richard Cincotta (Stimson Centre)

Pieter Vanhuysse


Preventing Inequalities in Ageing Societies

Is there a rising risk of more unequal ageing? Inequality in old age is a reflection of individuals’ paths over their entire life course.

Younger generations in Europe today are likely to face higher inequality in old age due to less stable labour market conditions and widening inequalities in the distribution of earnings and household income.

The reduction of inequalities inside societies must be tackled by measures addressing both intra-generational and intergenerational inequalities.  In order to equalise life chances, state transfers for high quality education and care for children (especially from disadvantaged backgrounds) should increase substantially.

 A well-designed policy package to combat inequalities should be based on three pillars: Prevent inequality at early ages, mitigate inequality among youth and adults, and tackle inequality at older ages.

Read Herve Boulhol and Pieter Vanhuysse’s Population Europe Policy Brief here.

Pieter Vanhuysse


Intergenerational justice, population politics, and active aging

With Clara Sabbagh, Pieter Vanhuysse has studied the remarkably strong and internationally consistent perceptions of intergenerational injustice among young people, and of pensions injustice among adults.
Ageing Populations in Postindustrial Democracies, co-edited with Achim Goerres, Pieter Vanhuysse has infused a sense of empirical variation and political-institutional refinement as a counterbalance to increasingly shrill and alarmist assertions about ‘gerontocratic’ welfare states dominated by unholy baby boomer alliances of ‘greedy grey’ voters and ‘myopic’ or populist politicians. Achim and I are currently working on a book on Global Political Demography. Demography is not destiny: governance cultures matter more than pure population aging in explaining policy biases and grey power – or their absence. With Markus Tepe, Pieter Vanhuysse has tried to inject empirical and institutional qualifiers into sweeping claims about how population aging causes gerontocracy politics in pensionspension cutback delays, and elderly-biased welfare states
Studying the
intergenerational justice of public policies in rich democracies at the invitation of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Pieter Vanhuysse has developed a four-dimensional snapshot indicator of intergenerational justice (IJI), including a new measure of elderly bias in social spending (EBiSS). Pieter Vanhuysse has also been part of the team that developed the first Active Aging Index for the Commission, in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

Read Pieter Vanhuysse’s feature profile at ERC Demography, Ethics and Public Policy.

Pieter Vanhuysse