Theme: Parties & Elections | Content Type: Journal article

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From Gerontocracy to Gerontonomia: The Politics of Economic Stagnation in Ageing Democracies

Tim Vlandas



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One in five people in the EU and nearly one in ten in the world are now aged 65 and over. This demographic transformation is one of the great successes of the twentieth century and has profoundly altered the composition of electorates in many democracies. This article explores whether and how this population ageing reshapes the relationship between democracy and capitalism. I argue that ageing changes the economic and policy priorities of a growing share of democracies’ electorates in ways that incentivise elected governments to prioritise certain social policies and economic outcomes, such as pensions and low inflation, at the expense of others, most notably greater social investments and pursuing economic growth. As a result, gerontocracies increasingly lead to what I call a ‘gerontonomia’ characterised by democratically sustained economic stagnation.

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    Tim Vlandas

    Tim Vlandas is Associate Professor at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention and Fellow of St Antony's College, University of Oxford.

    Articles by Tim Vlandas