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Demographic Change, Relative Factor Prices, International Capital Flows, and Their Differential Effects on the Welfare of Generations

In: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment

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  • Alexander Ludwig
  • Dirk Krüger
  • Axel Börsch-Supan

Abstract

Demographic change has differential impacts on the welfare of current and future generations. In a simple closed economy, aging -- a relative scarcity of young workers -- increases wages, increasing the welfare of the young. At the same time, population aging will reduce rates of return to capital, thereby reducing the welfare of asset holders who are usually older than the population average. In a global world with pension systems, however, these effects are less straightforward, since international capital flows dampen the factor price changes. Moreover, pay-as-you-go pension systems financed by payroll taxes create a wedge between net and gross wages, and their intergenerational redistribution has important additional effects on the welfare of generations. To quantify these effects, we develop a large-scale multi-country overlapping generations model with uninsurable labor productivity and mortality risk. Due to the predicted relative abundance of the factor capital, the rate of return falls between 2005 and 2050 by roughly 90 basis points. Our simulations indicate that capital flows from rapidly ageing regions to the rest of the world will initially be substantial, but that trends are reversed when households de-cumulate savings. In terms of welfare, our model suggests that young individuals with little assets and currently low labor productivity indeed gain from higher wages associated with population aging. Older, asset-rich households tend to loose because of the predicted decline in real returns to capital.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey B. Liebman & David A. Wise, 2009. "Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brow08-1, octubre-d.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 4551.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:4551

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    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Alexander Ludwig & Dirk Krüger, 2006. "On the Consequences of Demographic Change for Rates of Returns to Capital, and the Distribution of Wealth and Welfare," MEA discussion paper series 06103, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    2. Axel B�Rsch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2006. "Ageing, Pension Reform and Capital Flows: A Multi-Country Simulation Model," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(292), pages 625-658, November.
    3. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Ludwig, Alexander & Winter, Joachim, 2002. "Aging and International Capital Flows," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-27, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "Projected U.S. demographics and social security," Working Paper Series WP-98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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    Cited by:
    1. Vistesen, Claus, 2009. "Ageing and Export Dependency," MPRA Paper 17655, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Steven F. Venti, 2010. "Comment on "Aging Populations, Pension Operations, Potential Economic Disappointment and Its Allocation"," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 326-331 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ludwig, Alexander & Schelkle, Thomas & Vogel, Edgar, 2010. "Demographic Change, Human Capital and Welfare," MEA discussion paper series 10196, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    4. Axel Börsch-Supan & Alexander Ludwig, 2009. "Living Standards in an Aging Germany: The Benefits of Reforms and the Costs of Resistance," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 229(2-3), pages 163-179, June.
    5. Alexander Ludwig & Thomas Schelkle & Edgar Vogel, 2011. "Online Appendix to "Demographic Change, Human Capital and Welfare"," Technical Appendices 08-168, Review of Economic Dynamics.
    6. Vogel, Edgar & Ludwig, Alexander & Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2011. "Aging and Pension Reform in a Two-Region World: The Role of Human Capital," MEA discussion paper series 11246, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

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