Research - 24.09.2015 - 00:00 

The intergenerational contract

What jeopardizes our intergenerational contract? And what can we do to ensure that the burden sharing between old and young remains fair? Martin Eling, HSG professor of insurance economics, has boiled down his research findings on this issue for the script of the ninth animation video in the Little Green Bags series.


25 September 2015. What many people would wish for becomes a First World problem: We live healthier and longer. But that puts our health and welfare systems under stress. There are fewer and fewer young people to pay for the care of more and more old people. Our birth rate has declined since 1971, so the redistribution system no longer works.

How we can rescue the intergenerational contract

The ninth video of the animation series Little Green Bags shows which factors strain the intergenerational contract between young and old, and what business, government and each and every one of us can do to ensure that the contract continues to meet the needs of successive generations: work a few years longer, automatic debt brakes, additional nursing-care insurance in old age, a progressive immigration policy and more children. Help from outside is necessary precisely when the demand for workers cannot be met domestically. Countries have to welcome new, skilled workers from other countries into the local labor pool.

Martin Eling, professor for insurance economics at HSG, has written the concept for the script of the latest Little Green Bags video. In his research, he has dealt with pension reform and the financing gap in the Swiss pension plan.

Visual bites of HSG’s fields of knowledge

The HSG series invites viewers to learn more about the university’s fields of knowledge. The topics digital life, energy transition, corporate responsibility, innovation and public value are subjects for discussion in society, economy and politics. They are therefore an important part of research and teaching at HSG. In a nod to traditional academic seminars where participants bring a snack, the so-called “brown bag lunches”, the Little Green Bags series presents visual knowledge bites.

The Institute for Business Ethics broke first ground with the film on corporate responsibility, “What is CSR?”. The Institute for Technology Management visualized the concept “effectuation” and the “10 myths of entrepreneurship”. The fourth installment explained how innovations arise. In the fifth video, “Digital Good Life”, Miriam Meckel demonstrated how we could link the digital and the analog worlds without techno stress. The sixth film explained how real marketing leads customers to purchase. In the seventh video, Elgar Fleisch and Markus Weinberger showed us what the Internet of Things can do. “Public Value” was the topic of the series’ eighth film. It shows what constitutes public value and how it can be measured. HSG lecturer Timo Meynhardt is the author of the spoken text. 

It takes a team 

The films are produced in cooperation with the Zürich-based animation studio Zense and film director Andri Hinnen, a HSG graduate (SIM-HSG). Prof. Dr. Thomas Beschorner, director of the Institute for Business Ethics, is the chief scientist of the animation film series. The French film festival “Deauville Green Awards 2015” awarded a prize in the silver category to the film “Public Value: added value, public value and I” in June 2015. The Swiss National Fund also appreciates this kind of scientific communication. It promotes future films of the series through its “SNF Agora” program. 

Image: sequence from the animation film / Zense

Discover our special topics