Ageing, young persons and the welfare state: An exploration of the consequences that ageing populations have for the position of German and Italian youth
Henten, C.F. van
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This study deals with the consequences of ageing populations on the position of young persons in Italy and Germany. At the same time that European populations are ageing, working-age populations are declining. This puts a growing pressure on future workers and current youth to contribute more to the preservation of European welfare states. This research aims to review the relation between ageing, young persons and the welfare state in a more detailed way, and tries account for the found differences between Germany and Italy using multiple sociological perspectives. Ageing seems to have a larger impact in Italy on the already precarious position of youth than it does in Germany, despite the fact that the ageing of populations in both countries has shown partly analogous developments. Important explanations for these differences are: 1) lower average retirement ages and lower participation rates among older workers 2) unemployment protection schemes that offer inadequate protection in the context of a changing socioeconomic environment 3) the lacking political power of young persons and the overrepresentation of ‘insiders ’ on the labour market within major trade unions 4) the timing of the emergence of key post-industrial developments. These explanations, among others, constitute a plausible explanation for the larger impact ageing is having in Italy and the precarious position of the Italian young.