OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Policies for Switzerland’s ageing society

Swiss society is ageing. At the same time, life expectancy is increasing. With most workers retiring around age 65, time in retirement is growing and the ratio of retirees to employees is set to soar. These developments bring a range of opportunities but will likely weigh on growth in GDP per capita and increase public spending. They may also widen existing inequalities. This paper highlights three key policy challenges to preserve high living standards in coming decades. First, the pension system ensures good retirement incomes despite a lack of reforms. However, reforms are urgently needed as the system is under increasing pressure. Second, a range of disincentives and barriers in the labour market and tax system contribute to early retirement and involuntary retirement. Boosting employability at older ages and broadening older workers’ options would dampen the economic impact of ageing. Third, the Swiss health system delivers good outcomes but at a higher cost than other countries, and ageing will only exacerbate the associated pressures. Cost containment and improved co-ordination are vital. Adjusting the financing of long-term care could improve access and the overall quality of long-term care.


Keywords: healthcare, pension system, Switzerland, long-term care, labour market, population ageing, long-term projections
JEL: I18: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health; J26: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Retirement; Retirement Policies; J11: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
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