How successfully do older Europeans age? A new measurement toolbox and its application with data from SHARE. 01/10/2017 - 30/09/2021


The rapid aging of our societies poses important challenges for policy makers. To evaluate the design and effectiveness of aging policies, it is essential that policy makers and researchers have an operational yardstick for measuring the degree of "successful" aging. The current project deals with the question of how the degree of successful aging can be measured. In particular, it develops a new toolbox that allows for the measurement of successful aging in a fine-grained way. This toolbox will be implemented using new data that will be collected in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Its measures will respect the preferences of older persons and will be sensitive to the distribution of successful aging in the society. None of the existing measures of successful aging in the literature have these appealing features. The project will be organized in four research streams. First, a fine-grained measure of the extent of successful aging at the individual level will be developed. The novelty of this measure will be that it is sensitive to the preferences of the older persons themselves with regards to what is important in their lives. In the second stream, a novel method to estimate the preferences of older persons will be designed and implemented. This method will be based on a series of discrete choices between vignettes and will be implemented in the 8th wave of the SHARE data set in 2018-2019. Third, a distribution-sensitive measure of the extent of successful aging at the societal level will be constructed based on the results from the earlier two research streams and insights from welfare economics. Fourth, it is expected that the measurement toolbox developed in this project will throw new light on old questions in the literature, such as the so-called satisfaction paradox. Moreover, its power to predict future mortality and health problems of older persons will be compared to existing measures. Furthermore, the distribution-sensitive measure of successful aging at the societal level will be used to compare European countries to identify best practices and investigate the role of policies and institutions on successful aging.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project