© 2020

Revisiting Economic Vulnerability in Old Age

Low Income and Subjective Experiences Among Swiss Pensioners


Part of the Life Course Research and Social Policies book series (LCRS, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Julia Henke
    Pages 1-3
  3. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 5-6
    2. Julia Henke
      Pages 7-21
    3. Julia Henke
      Pages 23-33
    4. Julia Henke
      Pages 35-52
  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 67-67
    2. Julia Henke
      Pages 69-72
    3. Julia Henke
      Pages 81-95
    4. Julia Henke
      Pages 97-123
    5. Julia Henke
      Pages 125-134
  5. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 135-136
    2. Julia Henke
      Pages 151-165
    3. Julia Henke
      Pages 167-177
    4. Julia Henke
      Pages 179-194
    5. Julia Henke
      Pages 195-203

About this book


This book offers an interdisciplinary analysis of the experience of economic vulnerability among older adults. Drawing on various fields ranging from happiness, economics to stress research, it integrates assessments from objective and subjective measurement perspectives. The book offers nuanced insights into prevalent experiences of low economic quality of life in wealthy countries, using empirical data from Switzerland. A sample of some 1500 adults aged 65-84 is taken as the basis for a systematic comparison of the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of three – overlapping – groups of potentially vulnerable pensioners: those who are income-poor (objective measure), those who report difficulties making ends meet (subjectively self-assessed measure) and those who worry about not having enough money for current expenses (subjectively perceived measure). Theoretical and empirical evidence is offered for the distinctiveness of the two subjective indicators, one of which assesses the experience of economic strain while the other captures the individual’s response in terms of stress. The conceptual contribution of this research includes a typology of economic vulnerability: eight distinct profiles emerge at the intersection of the objective, self-assessed and perceived measures. These profiles correspond to specific risk constellations, and they reflect varying degrees of human agency in dealing with economic vulnerability.


Population aging older populations Subjective poverty indicators Financial Stress Swiss pensioners Low income Low economic quality of life Wealthy countries

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

About the authors

Julia Henke obtained her PhD in socioeconomics at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in collaboration with the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES. Her research interests focus on quality of life, specifically the intersection of economic and psychological well-being. During her doctoral studies she started working for a development organization and since 2016 she works as a researcher in the communications department of a humanitarian organization.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Revisiting Economic Vulnerability in Old Age
  • Book Subtitle Low Income and Subjective Experiences Among Swiss Pensioners
  • Authors Julia Henke
  • Series Title Life Course Research and Social Policies
  • Series Abbreviated Title Life Course Research,Social Policies
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Economics and Finance Economics and Finance (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-36322-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-36325-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-36323-9
  • Series ISSN 2211-7776
  • Series E-ISSN 2211-7784
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 326
  • Number of Illustrations 61 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Population Economics
    Quality of Life Research
  • Buy this book on publisher's site