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Intergenerational Fairness

Ensuring intergenerational fairness is one of the biggest challenges facing policy-makers today. Citizens are increasingly worried that their children may end up worse off than their parents, challenging a key premise that has long underpinned societies: that each successive generation would become better off than the previous.

An ageing population, structural changes to the economy and the impact of technological advances on the world of work raise significant questions about the prospects for stable and sustainable growth in Europe and beyond. This raises important questions for future financial sustainability and the fair distribution of resources between generations.

Intergenerational fairness: a survey of citizens in 10 European countries

This survey provides a unique picture of the views of 10,000 Europeans on intergenerational fairness. Carried out in mid-2017, the countries surveyed reflect a broad diversity of size, geography and economy across the continent. Structured in three sections, the survey explores whether Europeans feel that their respective generations are being treated fairly by government and whether they trust their governments are taking account of the longer-term financial impact of key policy choices. This builds on our existing work on public finances in Europe, seeking to facilitate discussion among key policymakers and stakeholders on how governments can promote greater confidence in the way they manage their public finances.

Intergenerational Fairness Dialogue

The Intergenerational Fairness Dialogue is a new initiative, jointly hosted by the European Youth Forum and ICAEW. It aims at facilitating debate between EU / national policy-makers, international organisations, different age group representatives, the business and finance community and academia on the main challenges facing intergenerational fairness in Europe and worldwide. The initiative takes place at a time when intergenerational issues are likely to be high on the EU agenda as reflection continues on the possible future direction the EU might take.

Citizens survey on intergenerational fairness

Open and honest debate about intergenerational fairness is a pre-requisite for broad consensus on the way forward. Over the summer of 2017, ICAEW commissioned a survey of 10,000 Europeans aged between 16 and 64 from 10 different countries. We wanted to know who they think is primarily responsible for financing pensions, social care, education and alleviating poverty and unemployment. We also asked them about their perceptions on intergenerational fairness and whether they believe that their governments consider the impact of policy decisions on future generations. Finally, we asked citizens to rank different policy areas according to their perceived importance. We hope that the insights gained from the survey will help to inform wider debate at the Intergenerational Fairness Dialogue.

Additional resources