Life Course Heterogeneity and the Future Labour Force – a Dynamic Microsimulation Analysis for Austria

Capturing the heterogeneity of life courses improves the accuracy, detail and policy relevance of population and labour force projections. Our study uses the microsimulation model microDEMS for Austria, which simulates individual life courses at a high level of detail and in their family context. The model pays particular attention to educational attainment, health and labour market participation. By maintaining the longitudinal consistency of labour market careers, including the tracking of insurance periods, together with the implementation of detailed retirement rules, our model provides realistic representations of retirement decisions. While we reproduce the demographic outcomes of official (Statistics Austria) population projections, including international migration by region of birth, we integrate several additional dimensions, such as educational differentials in mortality and fertility. MicroDEMS allows to consider a wide range of scenarios when assessing the sensitivity of results, or to focus on the impact of policy changes targeted at specific population subgroups, such as mothers, immigrants, or people with health impairments or lower educational levels. MicroDEMS is a detailed national version of the comparative microWELT model. In this context, microDEMS is used for sensitivity analysis and case studies to assess potential specification bias introduced in microWELT due to the neglect of institutional detail or the less detailed treatment of population heterogeneity, such as in the case of international migration.