A Research Agenda for Ageing and Social Policy

Edited by Kai Leichsenring and Alexandre Sidorenko


Toni C. Antonucci, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Life Course Development Program at the University of Michigan, USA

Liat Ayalon, Professor at the School of Social Work, Bar Ilan University, Israel

Martha C. Bial, Ravazzin Center on Aging at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in New York City, USA

Nikolai Botev, retired from UNFPA

Tine Buffel, Professor of Sociology and Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester, UK

Robin C. Fenley, Adjunct Professor of Social Policy at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service in New York City, USA

Julia Ferre, Social Affairs Officer, Programme on Ageing Section at UN DESA, New York, USA

Poliana Fialho de Carvalho, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (FIOCRUZ), Brazil

Marvin Formosa, Professor of Gerontology at the Department of Gerontology and Dementia Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta

Krzysztof Hagemejer, Honorary Professor at Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Germany

Sarah Harper, Clore Professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, UK

Frank Hoffer, Non-Executive Director of the Global Labour University Online Academy

Norah Keating, Professor of Social Gerontology with appointments at Stirling University (UK), North-West University (South Africa) and University of Alberta (Canada), and Director of Global Social Issues on Ageing, International Association on Gerontology and Geriatrics

Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, Professor of Social Sustainability and Welfare Policies at the Department of Social Sciences, LUT University, Finland

Teppo Kröger, Professor of Social and Public Policy at the University of Jyväskylä, and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Research on Ageing and Care, Finland

Giovanni Lamura, Leader of the Centre for Socio-Economic Research on Ageing at INRCA IRCCS, Italy’s National Institute of Health and Science on Ageing, Ancona, Italy

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Affiliated Professor at the Institute of Public Health, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil

Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Jasmine A. Manalel, Senior Research Associate at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College in New York City, USA

Anne Meissner, Professor of Nursing and Care Organization at the University of Hildesheim, Germany

Laura Naegele, Leader of the junior research group ‘Competence management of older workers in digitized learning environments (BeKomIng Digital)’ at the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), Bonn, Germany

Henk Nies, Endowed Professor of Policy and Organisation Development in Long-term Care at the Vrije University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Alexander Peine, Professor of Culture, Innovation and Communication at the Open University of The Netherlands

Michał Polakowski, Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw, Poland

Anette Scoppetta, Deputy Director of the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Vienna, Austria

Oxana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director of the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics, located in Moscow, Russia

Clemens Tesch-Römer, Director of the German Centre of Gerontology, Berlin (DZA), Germany, and Adjunct Professor for Psychology at the Free University of Berlin

Virpi Timonen, Professor of Health and Social Services Research at the University of Helsinki. Finland

Maria Varlamova, Institute of Sociology, Jagiellonian University Krakow, Poland

Anna Wanka, Research Group Leader at the Department of Sociology and the Department of Educational Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Yanan Zhang, Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing, UK





Leichsenring, K. and Sidorenko, A. (2024). A Research Agenda for Ageing and Social Policy. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.


Population ageing will continue to shape the global transformations during the 21st century. The accumulated knowledge on ageing has therefore gained in its scope and importance, but related challenges for social policies remain underestimated and even neglected. Kai Leichsenring and Alexandre Sidorenko have edited a book that takes stock of salient issues with a wide range of inter-disciplinary experts. Based on contributions of more than 30 experts from gerontology, economy, political sciences, sociology and other social sciences they propose a future-oriented research agenda designed to inform and stimulate social policy responses to ageing and longevity.

The aim has been to bridge the gap between the often-isolated processes of inter-disciplinary research on the one hand and policymaking on the other. A dialogue between all stakeholders of action on ageing at national and international levels needs to involve researchers, policymakers as well as representatives of civil society and social partners. Initiatives by United Nations agencies have gone a long way in this direction since the first World Assembly on Ageing held in Vienna, Austria, in 1982. These endeavours have even intensified over the past few years, but both national and global action are still suffering from a lack of resources and really joint action.

“A Research Agenda for Ageing and Social Policy” gathers some of the most experienced experts in gerontology, social policy, economy, psychology, international law and public health addressing a wide variety of topics to guide researchers and policymakers in finding solutions for social risks over the life-course of current and future generations. The framework of the proposed agenda starts from the necessity to create opportunities for more equal chances in a life-course perspective. The challenges of increasing longevity call for new institutional settings to provide social cohesion and social security for the diverse transitions from education to work, care work or further (re-)training, from leisure to education, and vice versa from training or care to work, and from work to leisure, independent from the individuals’ chronological age.


Foreword xv
Preface xvii

1 Why do we need a research agenda for ageing and social policy in the 21st century?
Kai Leichsenring and Alexandre Sidorenko

2 Population ageing and the demographic deficit: exploring the second demographic dividend
Sarah Harper and Yanan Zhang
3 Healthy ageing policies from regional and global perspectives: challenges for social policies and research
Norah Keating, Virpi Timonen and Tine Buffel

4 Ageism and public policies: research on age discrimination at the societal level
Clemens Tesch-Römer and Liat Ayalon
5 The future of active ageing and related needs for research
Oxana Sinyavskaya
6 Shifts in social policies for old age: towards a life course approach of active ageing? 
Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen and Marvin Formosa
7 Labour market research for an ageing workforce in times of digitalisation 
Anette Scoppetta, Laura Naegele and Maria Varlamova
8 Digitalisation and population ageing: social policy dimensions of the digital divide and innovation 
Alexander Peine, Anne Meissner and Anna Wanka
9 Social relations and the family
Toni C. Antonucci, Jasmine A. Manalel, Robin C. Fenley and Martha C. Bial
10 Rising longevity and health care systems: the need for a new approach in social and health policies and research
Peter Lloyd-Sherlock and Poliana Fialho de Carvalho
11 Longer lives with long-term care needs: research needed to tackle the care gap
Giovanni Lamura and Henk Nies
12 Towards the caring or the uncaring state? A social policy perspective on long-term care trends
Teppo Kröger

13 Social policy research on ageing needed from the perspective of intergovernmental organisations
Nikolai Botev, Julia Ferre and Claudia Mahler
14 Social policy research on the ageing workforce from the perspective of employees and employers
Krzysztof Hagemejer, Frank Hoffer and Michał Polakowski

15 Towards a research agenda for ageing and social policy in the 21st century
Kai Leichsenring and Alexandre Sidorenko



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