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Pension reforms and healthy ageing in Italy and Europe: quasi-natural experimental analysis of linked health and pension datasets
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 101045534 Call for proposal: ERC-2021-COG
Funded under: HE | HORIZON-AG Overall Budget: 1,880,430 EURFunder Contribution: 1,880,430 EUR

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many European countries to spend money that they do not have. This is creating unprecedented levels of debt and will inevitably lead to pressure for retrenchment in social welfare, with pensions seen as a key target. While some nations will seek to protect pensions, others will not. How will these pension reforms impact on healthy ageing? Will such reforms pension save money or perversely pass costs onto healthcare and other welfare systems? We propose an ambitious research programme to inform these critical questions. Our proposed research combines analysis of the Surveys on Health, Retirement and Ageing in Europe (SHARE) in 19 EU countries with specific quasi-natural experiment studies of pension reforms increasing pensionable ages (UK 1995 Pension Act and Italy 2011 Fornero Reform) and reducing pension payments (Netherlands 2013 Pension Reductions and Greece Katrougas Law 2016). Additionally the project will create innovative administrative-record linkages in Italian pension and health system data to quantify occupation-specific mortalities and unequal survival times. Overall, it builds on the PI’s strong track-record in evaluating health impacts of austerity and natural experiment research designs. The anticipated findings will test critical ideas about a ‘health-promoting pension system’ and about which occupational groups may merit additional compensation due to lower survival times. It will help inform critical policy debates by revealing the hidden and unanticipated health consequences of pension reforms and associated inequalities.

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