Ageing in China: Labor Participation, Retirement, Pension and Long-term Care Insurance

Leading up to the 2021 International Health Economics Association (iHEA) Congress, the Harvard China Health Partnership hosted “Ageing in China: Labor Participation, Retirement, Pension and Long-term Care Insurance” as a pre-Congress session on July 8, 2021 from 8-10am EDT.

Event Background

China’s population is ageing rapidly at a rate that surpasses most of its Asian neighbors and advanced economies in the West. In 2015, 10.5% of the population was aged 65+, and this number is projected to grow to 26.1% by 2050. Evidencing increases in life expectancy, the growth of the 80+ population from 22 million (or 1.5%) in 2015 to an expected 115 million (or 8.2%) by 2050 is particularly consequential. The challenges presented by the ageing of China’s population are vast and complex. This session examined the effects of ageing on economic growth, labor market decisions and the opportunities and challenges in financing elder care to meet the needs of the ageing population. The session was moderated by Dr. Winnie Yip and included presentations on four academic papers followed by commentary from discussants.


  1. Covered Elderly Care and Labor Participation: Evidence from Chinese Long-term Care Insurance Program
    Presenter: Xiaohan Zhang, Associate Professor, Cal State Los Angeles College of Business and Economics
    Co-authors: Jingyi Ai (Fudan University) and Jin Feng (Fudan University)
  2. One Country, Two Systems: Evidence on Retirement Patterns in China
    Presenter: Gewei Wang, Research Associate, The China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), Peking University
    Co-authors: John Giles (The World Bank Group), Xiaoyan Lei (Peking University), Yafeng Wang (Peking University), and Yaohui Zhao (Peking University)
  3. The Impact of Raising Retirement Age on the Public Pension Funds’ Sustainability
    Presenter: Bingwen Zheng, Professor, Chinese Academy of Social Science
  4. Long-term Care Insurance and Wellbeing of Older Adults: Evidence from China
    Presenter: Xiaoyan Lei, Professor of Economics, Peking University National School of Development
    Co-authors: Chen Bai (Renmin University), Jingpeng Hong (Peking University) and Hong Liu (Renmin University)


  • Hanming Fang, Joseph M. Cohen Term Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania
  • Chunfang Huang, General Manager, Health Insurance Department’s ITC Insurance Division, Taikang Pension & Insurance
  • Dewen Wang, Senior Economist, The World Bank Group
  • Wei Yang, Lecturer in Global Health, King’s College London


  • A recording of the event is available here.
  • Information on our other pre-Congress session on “Financing and Providing Basic Healthcare in Low- and Lower-Income Countries” is available here.
  • Information about HCHP-related research presentations at the 2021 iHEA Congress is available here.
  • Information about our previously-held Roundtable on Meaningful Ageing in China is available here.