The death of an individual is the ultimate depletion of his/her human capital. The forces driving international trends in mortality are comprehensively studied, with emphasis on differentials by gender and level of education in WIC Research Group 3 (Health and Longevity). Other sources of human capital depletion are declining health status and cognitive abilities at higher ages. The latter is the explicit focus on research into morbidity and disability including cognitive ageing which systematically studies the internationally available empirical evidence on this issue. The modelling of trends in the proportions of elderly people (as measured through conventional and new indicators of ageing) and in education and other differentials in physical disabilities at higher ages is done in close collaboration with WIC Research Group 6 (Forecasting and Ageing). To gain insight into healthy ageing it is important to understand differences in health and longevity as it is shaped by differences in physical, social and disease environment, genetics and health behaviour. Innovative research in this area is carried out with respect to data (Cloister Study) and methodological advances in studying healthy life years.
Further sources of human capital depletion are out-migration (WIC Research Group 4, Migration: Drivers and Impacts) which is mostly studied with respect to brain drain in some of the main sending countries (WIC Research Group 5, Demography of Austria).
The Wittgenstein Centre aspires to be a world leader in the advancement of demographic methods and their application to the analysis of human capital and population dynamics. In assessing the effects of these forces on long-term human well-being, we combine scientific excellence in a multidisciplinary context with relevance to a global audience. It is a collaboration among the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the University of Vienna.