The Graying of the Median Voter

D.A. Hollanders, F. Koster

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Abstract: Analyzing 30 OECD-countries in 1980-2005, this paper documents the effect of an aging electorate on pension expenditure. The first outcome is that an increase in the age of the median voter leads to less generous pension benefits. The second outcome is that an older median voter is not significantly associated with an increase in pension expenditure relative to GDP. These results do not change when health care costs are considered instead of pension expenditure. The results contradict the main prediction of median voter models that an older median voter will successfully push for higher individual benefits. An alternative specification with the dependency ratio as the operationalization of aging, does show a positive and significant effect of aging on pension expenditure. A positive effect of aging on the generosity of pensions can however also not be found in this case.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • aging
  • retirement
  • political economy


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