The Aging Population and the Competitiveness of Cities
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The Aging Population and the Competitiveness of Cities

Benefits to the Urban Economy

Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri

While much of the current literature on the economic consequences of an aging population focuses on the negative aspects, this enlightening book argues that seniors can bring significant benefits – such as vitality and competitiveness – to an urban economy.
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Chapter 1: An Aging Population – Good News for Cities?

Peter Karl Kresl and Daniele Ietri


The aging of the population can be seen as a “ticking time bomb” which will have enormous financial and other consequences, especially for societies throughout the developed world. The demographic characteristics of almost all of the countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa – the developing world – are such that the aging of the population is not a foreseeable problem for them. But for Japan, North America and Europe the combination of past birth rates, immigration, increasing life expectancies, labor participation rates, and past and present polities to prepare societies for the consequences of an aging population combine to confront these nations with what is arguably their most pressing policy problem for the next half-century. In all of these nations the political systems have been unwilling to prepare for this “specter that haunts the industrialized world” (Tarquini, 2007, p. 9). While expenditures on the retirement and health benefits of the senior cohort of the population will have to be covered by past contributions to the appropriate funds or by taxation of income earners at the time that the expenditures are made, past governments everywhere have curried favor with their electorates by under-taxation during previous decades so the funds in almost all countries are inadequate to meet the demands that will be placed upon them. Therefore, it is clear that the burden on future taxpayers is looming both as an actual fiscal difficulty and as a potential taxpayer rebellion. While each national economy will have its own experience, in general they are...

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