Research activities at MEA are organized in five research units.
The research unit Old Age Provision and Social Policy analyses the consequences of aging for the sustainability of social security systems and investigates how and why households save in order to understand the interactions between social security systems and private old-age provision. The main tools for our work are MEA-PENSIM, a simulation model which is based on official and MEA`s own projections on population and labor force, our own surveys on the willingness for reforms of European citizens, the SAVE-study, which builds up a longitudinal database of household saving behavior, and the MEA-PORTA model of German households’ portfolio choice over the life cycle.
The Migration unit is a recent addition to MEA. Its research focuses on the current migration to Western Europe in general, and to Germany in particular. Our objective is to understand the skills of the newcomers, their investments and expectations. This understanding will help the design of sound integration policies, which in the long run, will lessen the pressure on European social systems.
The Life-Cycle Decisions research unit investigates how life-cycle decisions of individuals, social and economic institutions combined with demographic change affect individuals and the economy. The unit conducts research on these topics by applying both microeconomic and macroeconomic perspectives. Examples of research topics of interest are: the study of savings, health and long-term care, labor force participation and retirement decisions complemented by research on inconsistent behavior over time. The analysis of this type of life-cycle behavior is then used to evaluate economic performance, changes in inequality and poverty gaps among people at old age and the (un)sustainability of pension systems in times of demographic change.
The research unit Health Econometrics investigates the interactions between economics and economic decisions on one hand, and morbidity and mortality on the other hand. Concrete examples are the interactions between health and socio-economic status over the life-cycle, with their implications on retirement age, duration of public and private pension benefit receipt, and the functioning of annuity markets.
SHARE is a large EU- and NIA-sponsored project which constructs a longitudinal Survey on Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe. The obtained data from currently 20 countries will provide new insights into the complex interactions between economic, physical, psychological, and social factors determining the quality of life of the elderly.