Sociology Index


Gerontocracy is the rule by elders. A society in which power, wealth and prestige flow upwards within an age pyramid. Gerontocracy is a form of oligarchical rule. Gerontocracy is also common in most democracies. In Gerontocracy, Parliament members are disproportionately old, and have positions of power within the parliament.

The Coming Gerontocracy: Social and Ethical Ramifications 
Leah L. Curtin, University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and Health 
Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, Vol. 5, No. 3, 196-204 (2004)
Today we face an aging population, increasing poverty among younger generations, massive federal budget deficits, and a burgeoning array of entitlement programs for the old, programs that are paid for by the young.

For more than 2 decades, some of America's best minds have been working on solutions to the coming crises in Social Security and Medicare.

Gerontocracy Revisited: Unilateral Transfer to the Young may Benefit the Middle-Aged 
PANU POUTVAARA, University of Helsinki - Department of Economics; Helsinki Center of Economic Research; Center for Economic and Business Research (CEBR); CESifo.

Abstract: It has been argued that in the absence of altruism, intergenerational transfers can survive only if the old are net recipients. I prove that this need not hold in an over-lapping generations model with a fixed factor. For example, the middle-aged owning land may gain by providing public education even when they cannot tax the young. This requires that labor is not mobile.

Gerontocracy in Motion? - European Cross-Country Evidence on the Labor Market Consequences of Population Ageing 
MICHAEL FERTIG, CHRISTOPH M. SCHMIDT. Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI Essen); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) 
Abstract: Taking a European cross-country perspective, this paper addresses the most important issues in the nexus of population ageing and labor markets.

Gerontocracy, Retirement, and Social Security - Casey Mulligan and Xavier Sala-i-Martin
Abstract: Why are the old politically successful? We build a simple interest group model in which political pressure is time-intensive, showing that in the political competitive equilibrium each group lobbies for government policies that lower their own value of time but that - because of their shorter horizons - the old do so to a greater extent and as a result are net gainers from the political process. The model has a variety of implications for the design of social security programs, which we test using data from the Social Security Administration.

Origins of gerontocracy, Eisele FR.- Gerontologist. 1979 Aug;19(4):403-7.

Aging Empire: North Carolina's Gerontocracy - N.N. Fullwood
Published In: John Locke Foundation Policy Report, July 1, 2000
Abstract: Senios are a potent political force for various government services. Yet they can better help themselves by supporting privatized, decrentralized service delivery.