Population numbers and age distributions today are vastly different than they were fifty years ago. Most dramatically, people today have longer lives and fewer children than their grandparents or even their parents. Why does population matter?

Talk in the Holt Seminar Series as a virtual guest. Professor
Shripad Tuljapurkar holds the Dean and Virginia
Morrison Chair in Population Studies at Stanford.  He has made many
distinguished contributions to population ecology, including of plants,
animals and humans, and to evolutionary biology; many of his papers
focus on issues of temporal variability and stochasticity.

Economists have been worked up about an “annuity puzzle.” An annuity is bought near-retirement (say at age 67) by giving an insurance company a chunk of money; in return the company guarantees a specified annual income till you die. So annuities should be irresistible to anyone afraid of outliving their money – presumably all “rational” people. The “puzzle” is that very few people buy annuities.

Forty years. That’s at least how long an academic career can last, if you start at 30 and retire at 70. There is no mandatory retirement age (at least in the UK and US) and, unlike most people, tenured academics cannot lose their jobs. For older academics (say over 50) increased longevity can be accompanied by the right to work as long as one wants. 

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