Implications of population ageing on environmental policy

Friday, 13 January 2012  Features

As Australia faces significant intergenerational challenges, the impact of population ageing on public policy will be extensive. An award winning paper from the Australian School of Business (ASB) provides new insights into the implications of population ageing on environmental policy.

The research paper, by PhD student Adeline Tubb from the School of Economics, addresses two timely issues that are not often discussed together, population ageing and climate change. Tubb suggests that government expenditure on climate change will be directly affected by budgeting pressure from managing an ageing population.

In the paper, Does Population Ageing Affect Government Environment Expenditure?, Tubb states that "an increase in the proportion of older individuals in the population could generate political pressure to shift expenditure away from environmental maintenance towards elderly care. Simultaneously, ageing may increase the younger generation's demand for environmental expenditure since increased longevity implies a higher return from such investment."

Tubb's research paper was awarded the 2011 Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) prize for excellence in economics and public policy.

"I hope that my research encourages people to discuss and think about the implication of our ageing population on environmental policy. The award has inspired me to work even harder to understand important policy challenges facing Australia," says Tubb.

Lisa Magnani, PhD supervisor and lecturer at ASB congratulated Adeline on her achievement, "Adeline's work shows that addressing sustainability issues is more than just finding the right price. Rather it is about uncovering what the true trade-offs are and arguing for the need to combine equity with efficiency."

The annual CEDA prize aims to recognise and encourage Australia's future economists and is awarded for the best essay on the economic development of Australia. Adeline received $5000 for the win.