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Alternative Pasts, Possible Futures: A "What If" Study of the Effects of Fertility on the Canadian Population and Labour Force

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Author Info

  • Frank T. Denton
  • Christine H. Feaver
  • Byron G. Spencer

Abstract

The "baby boom" that followed World War II, and the subsequent "baby bust," have cast a long shadow over the Canadian population, society, and economy. Drawing on a series of counterfactual simulations, this paper considers what the year 2001 would have looked like if things had been different - if there had been no baby boom, or no bust, or if the bust had been delayed, to take three examples. The paper then considers what will happen in the coming decades under a number of alternative assumptions. A major finding is that the boom had much less impact on the 2001 age structure of the population and labour force than did the bust that followed. For the future, population aging, slower rates of growth, and increased dependency ratios are likely features, but one should be careful not to overestimate the prospective "dependency burden."

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 28 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 443-459

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Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:28:y:2002:i:3:p:443-459

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  1. Richard Disney, 1996. "Can We Afford to Grow Older?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026204157x, December.
  2. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1996. "How Old is Old? Revising the Definition Based on Life Table Criteria," Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population Research Papers 2, McMaster University.
  3. Paul Beaudry & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2000. "What is Happening in the Youth Labour Market in Canada?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(s1), pages 59-83, July.
  4. Tim Dowd & Ralph Monaco & Jeffry Janoska, 1998. "Effects of Future Demographic Changes on the US Economy: Evidence from a Long-term Simulation Model," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(3), pages 239-262.
  5. Denton, Frank T & Spencer, Byron G, 1989. "Macro-effects of Changes in Household Preferences for Children: Simulated History and Future Time Paths," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 165-88.
  6. John Creedy & Grant M. Scobie, 2005. "Population Ageing and Social Expenditure in New Zealand," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 38(1), pages 19-39, 03.
  7. McMillan, Henry M. & Baesel, Jerome B., 1990. "The macroeconomic impact of the baby boom generation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 167-195.
  8. Ron Lesthaeghe & Paul Willems, 1999. "Is Low Fertility a Temporary Phenomenon in the European Union?," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(2), pages 211-228.
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Cited by:
  1. Frank T Denton & Christine H Feaver & Byron G Spencer, 2005. "Population Aging in Canada: Software for Exploring the Implications for the Labour Force and the Productive Capacity of the Economy," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 146, McMaster University.

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