© 2009

The Political Participation of Older People in Europe

The Greying of our Democracies


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Achim Goerres
    Pages 39-68
  3. Achim Goerres
    Pages 69-94
  4. Achim Goerres
    Pages 95-121
  5. Achim Goerres
    Pages 159-175
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 176-217

About this book


The first comparative analysis of the political behaviour of older people, using evidence from 20+ European democracies. In contrast to younger people across European societies, older people do not behave uniformly. For political participation in later life, it matters where and when individuals have grown up and in which country they become old.


Comparative analysis demography Europe Institution participation Protest

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ManagementEconomics and Social Sciences University of CologneGermany

About the authors

ACHIM GOERRES has been Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne, Germany since 2008. After completing his PhD at the LSE, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies before moving to the University of Cologne. His research interests include the comparative politics of ageing societies, comparative political behaviour and applied research methods.

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking


'Achim Goerres has written a highly informative and conceptually rich contribution to understanding political participation by older persons. This important study, with cross-national data from 21 European nations, is an empirically-grounded antidote to simplistic assertions that intergenerational political wars will be waged in aging societies.' - Robert H. Binstock, Professor of Ageing, Health, and Society, Case Western Reserve University, USA

'Achim Goerres has written the most important new book on the political participation of old and young in a generation. With sophisticated and nuanced analyses of cross-national, cross-time data, he overturns one conventional wisdom after another about the political impact of aging populations. This is a must-read for scholars and policymakers alike.' - Andrea Louise Campbell, Associate Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

'Retired majorities will gather at the gates of liberal democracies shortly. With impressive empirical arguments Achim Goerres dissects the trendy fears for harsh generational battles between politically organized pensioners and uninvolved youngsters. Amid an ocean of research on youth political behaviour his appeal for a 'political gerontology' is very timely, revealing and thoroughly documented. The apocalypse of greying democracies is not near, but age differences in political participation urgently call for empirical evidence so skilfully presented here.' - Jan van Deth, Professor of Political Science and International Comparative Social Research, University of Mannheim, Germany

'Age related differences in political participation are becoming more and more significant over time, so Achim Goerres examines an issue of growing importance to social scientists in general and political scientists in particular in this book. He makes an important contribution to our understanding of the participation of older people and their impact on the political process and on political outcomes.' - Paul F. Whiteley, Professor of Government, University of Essex, UK

'Goerres' clearly written, thorough and original book offers a powerful corrective to superficial notions that population ageing is turning Western democracies into gerontocracies subject to a growing monolithic 'grey vote'.' - Political Studies Review