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Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the US, EU, Japan and China

In: Demography and Financial Markets

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Author Info

  • Hans Fehr

    (University of Wuerzburg)

  • Sabine Jokisch

    (University of Wuerzburg)

  • Laurence J Kotlikoff

    (Boston University)

Abstract

This paper develops a dynamic, life-cycle, general equilibrium model to study the interdependent demographic, fiscal, and economic transition paths of China, Japan, the U.S.,and the EU. Each of these countries/regions is entering a period of rapid and significant aging that will require major fiscal adjustments. But the aging of these societies may be a cloud with a silver lining coming, in this case, in the form of capital deepening that will raise real wages. In a previous model that excluded China we predicted that tax hikes needed to pay benefits along the developed world’s demographic transition would lead to a major capital shortage, reducing real wages per unit of human capital over time by one fifth. A recalibration of our original model that treats government purchases of capital goods as investment rather than current consumption suggests this concern was overstated. With government investment included, we find much less crowding out over the course of the century and only a 4 percent long-run decline in real wages. Adding China to the model further alters, indeed, dramatically alters, the model’s predictions. Even though China is aging rapidly, its saving behavior, growth rate, and fiscal policies are currently very different from those of developed countries. If successive cohorts of Chinese continue to save like current cohorts, if the Chinese government can restrain growth in expenditures, and if Chinese technology and education levels ultimately catch up with those of the West and Japan, the model’s long run looks much brighter. China eventually becomes the world’s saver and, thereby, the developed world’s savoir with respect to its long-run supply of capital and long-run general equilibrium prospects. And, rather than seeing the real wage per unit of human capital fall, the West and Japan see it rise by one fifth percent by 2030 and by three fifths by 2100. These wage increases are over and above those associated with technical progress, wh

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

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This chapter was published in: Christopher Kent & Anna Park & Daniel Rees (ed.) Demography and Financial Markets, Reserve Bank of Australia, pages , 2006.

This item is provided by Reserve Bank of Australia in its series RBA Annual Conference Volume with number acv2006-10.

Handle: RePEc:rba:rbaacv:acv2006-10

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Related research

Keywords: ageing; international capital flows; fiscal policy; China; OLG overlapping generations;

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References

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  1. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann, 2008. "Risk Sharing and Efficiency Implications of Progressive Pension Arrangements," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(2), pages 419-443, 06.
  2. Smetters, Kent & Walliser, Jan, 2004. "Opting out of social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1295-1306, July.
  3. Kenneth A. Lewis & Laurence S. Seidman, 2002. "Funding Social Security: The Transition in a Life-Cycle Growth Model," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 159-180, Spring.
  4. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2004. "The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 10512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-46, September.
  6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent Smetters & Jan Walliser, 2002. "Distributional Effects in a General Equilibrium Analysis of Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 327-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent A. Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1998. "Social Security: Privatization and Progressivity," NBER Working Papers 6428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  9. Fehr, Hans & Jokisch, Sabine & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2008. "Fertility, mortality and the developed world's demographic transition," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 455-473.
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  22. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jianjun Miao & Neng Wang, 2007. "Risk, Uncertainty, and Option Exercise," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-016, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2006. "Is the United States bankrupt?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 235-250.
  3. Luca Marchiori & Olivier Pierrard & Henri R. Sneessens, 2011. "Demography, capital flows and unemployment," CREA Discussion Paper Series 11-14, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  4. Georges, Patrick & Lisenkova, Katerina & Mérette, Marcel, 2013. "Can the ageing North benefit from expanding trade with the South?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 990-998.
  5. Loretti I. Dobrescu & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Alberto F. Motta, 2008. "Why Aren't Developed Countries Saving?," NBER Working Papers 14580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kuijs, Louis, 2006. "How will China's saving-investment balance evolve ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3958, The World Bank.
  7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2007. "Is the U.S. Bankrupt?," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-015, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  8. Sabine Jokisch & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2005. "Simulating the Dynamic Macroeconomic and Microeconomic Effects of the FairTax," NBER Working Papers 11858, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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