Third Demog­ra­phy Prize for Young Researchers 2010/11

The third demog­ra­phy prize was ded­i­cat­ed to the fol­low­ing topic:

Old major­i­ty – young minor­i­ty: Where is a pow­er shift between gen­er­a­tions already vis­i­ble and how can you bal­ance it?”
For fur­ther infor­ma­tion about the demog­ra­phy prize click here.


Demo­graph­ic change has long since become a real­i­ty – we are becom­ing few­er and old­er. Accord­ing to the 2009 pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tion pre­sent­ed by the Ger­man Fed­er­al Sta­tis­tics Office, the Ger­man pop­u­la­tion will drop to 65 mil­lion peo­ple (today: 82 mil­lion) by 2060. One hun­dred peo­ple of work­ing age will then have to pro­vide for 60 pen­sion­ers. Peo­ple over 65 will make up more than one third of the Ger­man pop­u­la­tion and only about 16% will be under 20. Today, the shares of peo­ple aged over 65 and under 20 are still about the same size.

In April 2008, the for­mer Ger­man Fed­er­al Pres­i­dent, Roman Her­zog, already warned Ger­many of turn­ing into a “pen­sion­er democ­ra­cy” in order to call atten­tion to the set of prob­lems con­nect­ed to the nom­i­nal­ly ris­ing num­ber of old­er vot­ers. But are West­ern democ­ra­cies actu­al­ly like­ly to become “geron­toc­ra­cies” pre­vent­ing the young from hav­ing a say? Has demo­graph­ic change already affect­ed elec­tion results and campaigns?
Polit­i­cal par­ties may ask, as well, if and how the age­ing process in soci­ety has by now affect­ed their pro­grammes and the staffing of par­ty com­mit­tees. Is there a need and is it even pos­si­ble to coun­ter­act this trend?

The com­pe­ti­tion aims at spe­cif­ic and inno­v­a­tive approach­es pro­vid­ing a basis for future polit­i­cal debate.

The dead­line for papers has now passed. Sub­mis­sions were accept­ed until Octo­ber 1st, 2011.


The fol­low­ing papers were award­ed prizes dur­ing a Sym­po­sium in Berlin on 16.01.2011:

1st Prize (€6,000):
Bet­ti­na Munimus: “From a quan­ti­ta­tive major­i­ty to qual­i­ta­tive pow­er? An exam­i­na­tion of inter­est groups which rep­re­sent the old­er gen­er­a­tion” (in Ger­man) PDF

2nd Prize (€4,000)
Cor­nelia Wiethaler: “The idea of jus­tice accord­ing to Amartya Sen applied to the Ger­man social secu­ri­ty sys­tem – three sketch­es of a mod­el for local respon­si­bil­i­ty” (in Ger­man) PDF


Symposium in Berlin for the Third Demography Prize

Theme: “A Pow­er Shift between Generations”

scheckuebergabe_2012On the 16th Jan­u­ary 2012, the Sym­po­sium for the award of the 3rd Demog­ra­phy Prize, endowed with a finan­cial reward of €10,000, took place in Berlin. The theme of the Prize and the Sym­po­sium itself was devot­ed to a pos­si­ble “Pow­er shift between gen­er­a­tions” in ref­er­ence to the age­ing major­i­ty in soci­ety and the con­se­quences thereof.
The polit­i­cal, soci­etal and eco­nom­ic strate­gies which can be adopt­ed to cope with the fact of age­ing soci­eties were dis­cussed in small groups as well as by experts dur­ing a podi­um dis­cus­sion. Over 70 par­tic­i­pants from posi­tions in econ­o­my and pol­i­tics as well as a sur­pris­ing­ly large num­ber of the gen­er­al pub­lic attended.

podium_2012The the­ses and pro­pos­als of the prize win­ners were the basis for con­tro­ver­sial and inter­est­ing dis­cus­sions in small groups dis­cussing spe­cif­ic aspects of the theme and dur­ing the podi­um dis­cus­sion. Addi­tion­al­ly, exist­ing reform pro­pos­als from the Foun­da­tion for the Rights of Future Gen­er­a­tions, such as “Fran­chise with­out Age Lim­its”, were dis­cussed and debat­ed in the light of the most up-to-date research as well as the var­i­ous per­spec­tives of the par­tic­i­pants. The Sym­po­sium was made pos­si­ble through the sup­port of the Robert-Bosch- Stiftung.