October 2014 www.cepar.edu.au

Centre Director's Message

In its role as President of the G20 group, Australia will host the Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane in mid-November. There are two sets of goals, the first focussed on stimulating growth in the short to medium term, the second around building global economic resilience to future shocks.
It’s important to recognise that underlying social and economic conditions play an important role in recovering from shocks. For example, Australia’s resilience to the 2008 GFC had much to do with economic conditions and policy settings at that time.

One of the most important influences on resilience and recovery relates to demographic structure. Many factors combined to generate the difficulties that Europe finds itself confronting today, but one obstacle to its recovery is the age of its population – much of Europe is substantially older than Australia. Demographic structure seems to have played an important role in the persistence of Japan’s malaise, whose workforce peaked in the mid-90s, and whose population has been declining for nearly a decade. Declining population growth was also a feature of the US of the 1930s.

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CEPAR in successful bid to establish International Longevity Centre

CEPAR is one of 11 organisations in the successful consortium which won the International Longevity Centre bid to establish an Australian centre.

A key player in the establishment of the Australian Centre was Professor Julie Byles, a CEPAR Associate Investigator, and Acting Head of International Longevity Centre Australia (ILC-A). “This is a great opportunity to join a global alliance of centres whose mission is to help societies address longevity and population ageing in positive and productive ways,” she said.

CEPAR Chief Investigator Hal Kendig was also heavily involved in the bid. “International collaboration offers an opportunity to for Australia to focus our efforts in ageing research, share our knowledge, and learn from other countries."


US support for CEPAR research

A new grant from the Michigan Retirement Research Center (MRRC) will allow CEPAR to carry forward its research program on the impacts of means-testing pension benefits.

Under the grant, CEPAR will develop economy-wide models calibrated to the US and the Australian economies, compare retirement policy structures to analyse the implications of existing pension structures, and investigate alternatives.

The project will be led by John Piggott and Alan Woodland, with CEPAR Fellows George Kudrna, Rafal Chomik, and Associate Investigator Cagri Kumru. 

It is one of several indicators of international interest in means-tested pension designs in which CEPAR has been involved recently.

Annuities and Means-testing - Switzerland and Australia compared

During her visit this month, Associate Investigator  Monika Buetler ran a workshop looking at the Swiss and Australian pension systems, and preferences for annuitising  pension wealth.  Unlike Australians, the majority of Swiss retirees choose an annuity over a lump sum.  Monika's research evaluates the impact of the means-test on individuals' decisions to cash out pension wealth, comparing a simulation model with a large administrative dataset of individual choices. She finds that means-tested payments create an incentive to cash out pension wealth for low and middle income earners, but not for high income earners. 

The paper was presented during a half day workshop on means-testing held at CEPAR's UNSW node earlier this month. Other presentations included:

  • Xiaodong Fan, A Lifetime Model of Labour Supply and Asset Allocation of Australians: Estimation and Policy Implications;

  • Fedor Iskhakov, Optimal Annuity Purchases and Means-tested Public Pension;

  • George Kudrna, Means Testing of Australia's Age Pension: A Numerical Analysis with an OLG Model.

Read Monika's paper here

See the CEPAR Working Paper 


International Conference on Ageing and Public Policy – Health Care, Urbanization and the Environment, Hangzhou, China 11 October 2014

Keynote by John Piggott:
Australia's Health and Aged Care System; New Developments in Aged Care Policy

Presentation by Lu Bei:
Informal Care in China: Evidence from CHARLS data

Asian Economic Policy Review (AEPR) Conference, Tokyo, Japan 18 October 2014

Presentation by John Piggott:
Population Ageing and Social Security in Asia


Conference of the Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health, Kuala Lumpur,
17 - 19 October 2014.
Keynote by Robert Cumming:
Population Ageing and Health in Developing Countries in the 21st Century

ANU Centre for Research on Ageing, Health and Wellbeing

31 October 2014 Public Seminar with Prof Joanne Wood
Vision, Ageing and Driving

Featured Publication

Burns, R.A., Butterworth, P., Browning, C., Byles, J., Luszcz, M., Mitchell, P., Shaw, J. and Anstey, K.J. (Sept 2014). Examination of the Association between Mental Health, Morbidity and Mortality in Late Life: Findings from Longitudinal Community Surveys, International Psychogeriatrics http://bit.ly/1oYaShC

CEPAR Media 

Research Fellow Rafal Chomik on the Average Older Australian Factsheet included  in the Australian Financial Review and on 6PR Perth  radio 01/10/2014.  Hal Kendig was also interviewed by the Australian Financial Review on health and ageing 01/10/2014

John Piggott's address to the Asian Economic Policy Review Conference featured In the Nikkei Asian Review http://s.nikkei.com/1DQVXsN

Kaarin Anstey was a panellist on ABC Radio National's Big Ideas special on dementia, 17/09/2014 http://ab.co/1qdEilo and spoke to The Canberra Times about the safety of older drivers http://bit.ly/10w6GL5

Researcher profile

Research Fellow Dr Yan Yu has been with CEPAR since its inception; her research interests include health and mortality, demography of ageing and quantitative research methods.

Read Yan's profile


Many distinguished Visitors are due at the Centre ahead of the CEPAR/CESifo Workshop on Tax and Pensions including:

Prof. Robert Holzmann, University of Malaya and CEPAR Honorary Professor,

Prof. Bernd Genser, University of Konstanz,

Prof. John Whalley,
Director, Centre for the Study of International Economic Relations, W
estern University Canada,

Paul Johnson, Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

In addition Prof. Martin Boyer, University of Montreal, will be visiting CEPAR.



Events 2014


ASSA Annual Symposium in collaboration with CEPAR

Population Ageing and Australia's Future


11 November 2014

Age Discrimination Commissioner
Susan Ryan AO:

Older people's views, attitudes, and age rights

2014 Cunningham Lecture by Professor Bruce Chapman AM FASSA

The case of the income contingent loan



CEPAR & CESifo Workshops:


Pensions, Taxation, Population Ageing and Globalisation

17- 18 November


Emerging Researchers in Ageing Conference

24-25 November 2014
Flinders University

Eight CEPAR-affiliated students will be presenting


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