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The Economics of an Aging Society


Written by leading thinkers in the field, this text provides an in-depth analysis of the economic and policy issues associated with the aging of individuals and populations. With a strong policy focus based on demographic and economic study, this book focuses on “who gets what” from current and proposed government programs that impact on older persons, and how these affect individual behaviour. It does so in a straightforward manner that is accessible to readers with a range of mathematical backgrounds. The discussion concentrates on:

  • the effects of aging populations on the United States and other nations;

  • the economic wellbeing of the elderly, highlighting women and minorities;

  • public and private programs providing income for the elderly;

  • Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance;

  • Social Security and Medicare reform options;

  • employer-based retirement programs and pensions;

  • retirement patterns and factors influencing retirement decisions.

The authors draw from the experiences of other countries in evaluating the US experience and options. Additionally, each chapter engages the reader through practical examples and stimulates further investigation by providing practice questions with relevant website addresses.

Robert L. Clark is Professor of Economics at North Carolina State University.

Richard V. Burkhauser is the Sarah Gibson Blanding Professor of Policy Analysis and Chair of the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in the College of Human Ecology, Cornell University.

Marilyn Moon is Vice President and Director of Health at the American Institutes for Research.

Joseph F. Quinn is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College.Timothy M. Smeeding is Maxwell Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Syracuse University.

List of Figures.

List of Tables.


1. Introduction.

Part I: Population Aging and the Income of the Elderly.

2. The Graying of America and the World.

3. The Economic Well-being of Older Americans.

Part II: Retirement Planning and Policies.

4. Economics of Retirement and Old Age.

5. Work and Retirement.

6. Retirement Policies and Pension Plans.

Part III: Social Security Programs and Reforms.

7. Social Security Benefits and Program Objectives: An Individual Perspectives.

8. Social Security Financing and Reform Issues.

9. Disability Policy.

Part IV: Health and Long Term Care for Older Persons.

10. The Financing and Delivery of Acute Health Care Services.

11. Additional Health Issues: Long Term Care.