Getting older: Demographic challenges in South East Europe

Old woman with upward arrows

Getting older: Demographic challenges in South East Europe

Wednesday, 1 June 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:45pm
ESC Seminar Room and Zoom
Arjan Gjonça (Department of International Development, LSE)
Branimir Jovanovic (Institute for International Economic Studies, Vienna)
Vladimir Nikitovic (Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade)
Dijana Spasenoska (Department of Social Policy, LSE)
Kristijan Fidanovski (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford)
Kristijan Fidanovski (Department of Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford) and Manolis Pratsinakis (SEESOX)

Getting older: Demographic challenges in South East Europe

The SEESOX cordially invites you to a discussion of the socioeconomic causes and consequences of population aging in South East Europe. 

If you would like to attend this event in person, please register with Eventbrite.

If you would like to attend this event online, please register with Zoom.

As South East European populations grow older, demography is becoming a key topic in political and academic debates in the region. From Zagreb to Athens, all three main determinants of the age structure of a population – low fertility, growing life expectancy, and net emigration – are pointing to an increasingly unsustainable share of elderly citizens with serious ramifications for the future of South East European economies and societies.  

In recent decades, shifting cultural norms around the meaning of family and suboptimal policy configurations for the work-life balance of parents have depressed birth rates far below the replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. Life expectancy has been rising well into the late 70s despite the partial (and presumably temporary) reversal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, net emigration of mostly working-age population has exacerbated the distortive effects of the previous two trends on population aging, in stark contrast to the mitigating role played by net immigration in some West European countries. 

This session will provide an overview of these demographic trends and address their broader implications for the intergenerational social contract in South East Europe. 

Arjan Gjonça is an Associate Professor of Demography at the Department of International Development. He holds an MSc and a PhD in Demography from LSE and continues to work at LSE as a full member of academic staff. His research covers the demography of the Balkans (with particular focus on Albania) and the health transition in developing and transitional societies, including the sex imbalances at birth and female disadvantages in health and mortality in developing countries as well as the interplay between development and tradition in shaping demographic behaviour.

Branimir Jovanovic is an Economist at the Institute for International Economic Studies, Vienna, and country expert for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. His current research interests lie mainly around economic inequality, poverty, fiscal policy, taxation, social policies, labour rights, as well as financial crises and post-crises recoveries. Previously, he has done research on monetary policy, credit activity, exchange rates, trade, FDI, remittances, current account sustainability, forecasting, house prices. He has been adviser to the Minister of Finance of North Macedonia between 2017 and 2019 and researcher at the Central Bank of North Macedonia between 2007 and 2015. He has a PhD from University of Rome “Tor Vergata”.

Vladimir Nikitovic is Principal Research Fellow and Head of the Centre for Demographic Research and at the Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade. From 1999 to 2005 he worked at the Geographic Institute "Jovan Cvijić" of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Since 2011 he has been the editor in chief of Stanovništvo – one of the oldest demographic journals in the world, and visiting lecturer at the Belgrade Open School. He has published more than 60 papers in national and international journals and conference proceedings including four monographs. He had been engaged as thematic expert and national consultant in 12 national and five international projects and had conducted the project “Population and households in Serbia according to the 2011 Census” (2014-15) funded by the EU and the project package “Population policy” as part of the national project “Researching Demographic Phenomena for the Purpose of Public Policies in Serbia” (2011-2019). He had contributed creating current national strategies – Spatial Development Strategy through 2020 (2010) and Birth Promotion Strategy (2018). He has evaluated bilateral, scientific and technological cooperation projects of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia. He was scientific consultant in highly rated TV documentary on depopulation and emigration from Serbia – entitled Zadnja kuća, Srbija, for the national broadcasting company RTS from 2010 to 2015.

Dijana Spasenoska is a PhD candidate in Demography at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her research focuses on changes in health and mortality during times of socio-economic and political changes, particularly focusing on the transition from communism to democracy in the Balkan countries. She is particularly interested in understanding determinants of health, as well as evidence-based policy making. Prior to her PhD, Dijana has worked at the World Health Organization in Geneva, on numerous projects focusing on understanding barriers to immunization to inform decision making processes, as well as projects relating to health system strengthening focusing on primary health care.  Dijana holds a BSc & ARCS in Biochemistry from Imperial College London, and a MSc in Global Population Health from the LSE.  

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay