Contributions of older people beyond model projections

The contributions of older people are not fully expressed within the constraints of the model, some of which do impact the interpretations of the model output. For example, this model seeks to value the income of the older workforce but does not address issues affecting the potential and performance of our ageing workforce.

A study done by Keeling et al. (2020) outlined the different opportunities and challenges older New Zealanders face as part of the workforce. They present the physical and mental wellbeing aspects as well as other lifestyle factors to be of significance when managing older employees. Other issues around succession, retirement and ageism were also tackled as part of this case study. This depth of investigation furthers the discussion beyond labour force participation and remuneration contributions of older New Zealanders.

The growing number of senior entrepreneurs will also likely shift the value of remuneration for the self-employed. The current COVID-19 pandemic has seen an increase in older people starting their own businesses, to which they face different barriers than their younger counterparts (“The Older Entrepreneur”, 2021). The extent of the shift in remuneration for this group is yet to be determined.

The current model update highlights the age-gender distributions of workforce participation, earnings (paid and unpaid), and tax. However, extensive cohort analysis was performed by Curtin (2019), who investigated the factors driving the age-gender gaps. This affords better resolution data (due to disaggregation of age-gender groups) than the value of government transfers and other income presented in the model update.

To retain a consistent series, such studies were considered but not integrated into this model update. Further extensions to the current model design, such as the attribution of retirement savings schemes, could also be considered in the future. Although the model in its current form is fit for purpose, retaining a consistent series, it is clear that context is still key to support the discussion of the value of the economic contribution of New Zealand’s increasing older population.

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