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OECD sees no evidence of longevity deceleration

GLOBAL – The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says the increase in longevity seems to be a permanent effect.

“Currently there is no evidence of a deceleration in longevity,” the OECD said in a working paper on the impact of ageing.

It said that female longevity has increased “almost linearly” over the last 150 by 2.4 years per decade and that conditional life expectancy at higher ages has recently accelerated.

“Hence the regular increase in longevity seems to be a permanent effect,” it said. The comments come in a 100-page paper called “The Impact of Ageing on Demand, Factor Markets and Growth”.

The OECD’s comments contradict some academic thinking on longevity. University of Chicago professor Jay Olshansky argues there is a "whole suite arguments" why human longevity is unlikely to continue to rise.

These include bio-demographic, bio-mechanical, biological and stochastic factors - as well as the rise of obesity and infectious diseases.

The OECD’s simulations suggest that “implementing piecemeal reforms is not the most efficient way to eliminate the policy-induced growth losses in the context of ageing”.

It said: “Combining pension and labour market reforms is likely to provide the best remedy to such losses and can, in some cases, offset the tendency of differential demographic developments to exacerbate income gaps among OECD countries.”

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