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2023/2024  BA-BHAAA2401U  Navigating Pension Systems in an Aging World: Lessons from Denmark

English Title
Navigating Pension Systems in an Aging World: Lessons from Denmark

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 2.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Min. participants 30
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Katja Mann - Department of Economics (ECON)
Main academic disciplines
  • Economics
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 13-12-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • • Identify within an overlapping-generations model how different pension schemes affect individual saving decisions over the life-cycle
  • • Understand the economics of population aging and identify the main mechanisms through which pension systems are challenged by demographic changes
  • • Compare the welfare and distributional implications of different pension systems
  • • Demonstrate a solid understanding of the structure of pension systems from a practical perspective, such as types of pension schemes, the role of pension funds, regulation of the pension sector, etc.
  • • Analyze the relationship between the pension system and households’ economic and financial decisions based on Danish and international evidence
Course prerequisites
Basic knowledge of economics
Navigating Pension Systems in an Aging World: Lessons from Denmark:
Exam ECTS 2,5
Examination form Active participation

The completion of this course is based on active student participation in class. The course will be considered as passed if the students participation - based on an overall assessment - in the class activities fulfill the learning objectives of the course. The individual student’s participation is assessed by the teacher.
The student must participate in A combination of assignment and presentation
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Grading scale Pass / Fail
Examiner(s) Assessed solely by the teacher
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam Oral exam based on written product
The oral part of the re-take is online.
In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Size of written product: Max. 5 pages
Assignment type: Essay
Duration: 20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Examiner(s): If it is an internal examination, there will be a second internal examiner at the re-exam. If it is an external examination, there will be an external examiner.
Description of activities
A combination of assignment and presentation: The student must participate in minimum 80 % of the scheduled teaching.

In addition, the student must participate in a group work and present one of the empirical papers that will be provided. The group size will be 4-6 students and the presentations will be in the class. 
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

In times of rapid population aging, traditional pension systems are increasingly being put under pressure. As a shrinking group of young people faces growing cohorts of retirees, it becomes a key issue to design pension systems that can preserve the living standards of the old without over-burdening the young. So what characterizes a good pension system? How well prepared are current pension systems to address the demographic challenges? And how can they become more resilient and sustainable?

In this course, we will address these questions from an economic perspective and with a focus on the Danish pension system. The Danish pension system is consistently being ranked as one of the best pension systems in the world. It mitigates old-age poverty and generates high living standards in retirement, while at the same time being financially sustainable. Therefore, it offers an ideal example for studying how to optimally design pension systems.

This course consists of two parts. The first part provides an introduction to the theory of pension economics. We will study overlapping-generation models, which are simple and intuitive models in which we can incorporate different types of pension schemes. In particular, we will use these models to compare two prototype pension systems, the pay-as-you-go system and the fully funded system. We will assess theoretically how both types respond to demographic aging.

In the second part of the course, we will study pension systems in practice. We will get familiar with the key features of the Danish pension system and how it came into being. Building on the Danish case, we will consider the pension systems of other countries and derive concrete policy recommendations for making these systems more sustainable.

Description of the teaching methods
Discussions, presentations.
Groups size 4-6 students will present one empirical paper in the class - presentations should be up to 15 minutes.
Feedback during the teaching period
Through in class discussions
Student workload
Lectures 18 hours
Presentations and preparations 52 hours
Further Information

2-week course that cannot be combined with any other course.


Last updated on 13-12-2023