The Generational-Economy blog summarizes my work on Generational Satellite Accounts (GSAs) and National Transfer Accounts (NTAs), and my obsession with measures and concepts for the economy. It deals with the following topics:

  • Generational fairness: The economic situation of different generations and its change over time
  • Intergenerational transfers: Intergenerational redistribution through public and private transfers
  • Beyond GDP: Measuring the economy with a focus on sustainable wellbeing for all generations

Understanding the generational economy

Our life course is shaped by long periods of economic dependency in childhood and old age. Parents provide for most of the needs of children, while consumption needs in retirement are mostly financed through government transfers. Intergenerational redistribution is a cornerstone of our society. Understanding economic and social developments requires a generational perspective on the economy and the consideration of intergenerational redistribution.

Within the Generational Satellite Accounts (GSAs) project we develop an information base for the economic situation of different demographic groups and for redistribution between generations. GSAs are based on micro data that combine economic and demographic information. These data allow the measurement of income, transfers, and consumption by socio-economic characteristics. Examples are income trends by age, the extent of public redistribution to rich retirees, or if families are net contributors or net beneficiaries in the tax-benefit system.

GSAs constitute an advancement of so-called National Transfer Accounts, which provide economic information by age, but usually only for a single year. Economic and demographic trends can be better understood with an analysis of the economy from a generational perspective. For example, the consequences of an economic crisis on fertility depends how it affects the young adult population.

Measuring “the economy”

The obsession with measuring the economy stems from a passion for statistics in general, combined with a dissatisfaction with the current concepts and measures for the economy, including GDP and inflation. Many of these concepts capture neither the performance nor the dynamic of modern economies. For instance, GDP is completely blind towards the future and the wellbeing of future generations. There exist already much better concepts and measures for the economy.