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Ageing and Productivity Growth: Are there Macro-level Cohort Effects of Human Capital?

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  • Martin Werding

Abstract

Slower growth of the labour force and an increase in old-age dependency will reduce the growth of aggregate output and output per capita in many developed countries. However, a major question is whether there is any systematic link between demographics and the productivity of those who will still be active during the up-coming period of demographic ageing. As productivity is difficult to investigate at a micro level, the paper builds on a large macro-data panel covering developed as well as developing countries and explores the impact of the age composition of the labour force on levels and growth rates of output per worker as well as on total factor productivity (TFP). The results confirm earlier findings by Feyrer (2007), pointing to an inversely U-shaped relationship between the share of workers in different age groups and productivity which mainly works through the TFP channel and is effectively much stronger than what can be observed at a micro level. In-depths analyses suggest that cohort effects in human-capital accumulation may contribute to this pattern, but do not explain it. The paper concludes with simulations for a number of OECD countries showing that the impact of projected ageing of the labour force on productivity and per-capita growth could be really substantial in some cases.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2207.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2207

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Keywords: demographic change; economic growth; total factor productivity; macro-level panel regressions; simulations;

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  1. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output per Worker than Others?," NBER Working Papers 6564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  4. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  5. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Fink, Gunther & Finlay, Jocelyn E., 2007. "Does age structure forecast economic growth?," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 569-585.
  6. Brander, James A & Dowrick, Steve, 1994. "The Role of Fertility and Population in Economic Growth: Empirical Results from Aggregate Cross-National Data," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 1-25.
  7. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  8. Robert Fenge & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2006. "On the Optimal Timing of Implicit Social Security Taxes Over the Life Cycle," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(1), pages 68-107, March.
  9. Joaquim Oliveira Martins & Frédéric Gonand & Pablo Antolín & Christine de la Maisonneuve & Kwang-Yeol Yoo, 2005. "The Impact of Ageing on Demand, Factor Markets and Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 420, OECD Publishing.
  10. Axel Börsch-Supan, 2003. "Labor Market Effects of Population Aging," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 17(SpecialIs), pages 5-44, 08.
  11. C. Denis & K. Mc Morrow & W. R�ger & R. Veugelers, 2005. "The Lisbon Strategy and the EU's structural productivity problem," European Economy - Economic Papers 221, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  12. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  13. T. W. Swan, 1956. "ECONOMIC GROWTH and CAPITAL ACCUMULATION," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 334-361, November.
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  15. Avner Ahituv, 2001. "Be fruitful or multiply: On the interplay between fertility and economic development," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 51-71.
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Cited by:
  1. Boss, Alfred & Dovern, Jonas & Gern, Klaus-Jürgen & Jannsen, Nils & Meier, Carsten-Patrick & van Roye, Björn & Scheide, Joachim, 2009. "Ursachen der Wachstumsschwäche in Deutschland 1995-2005," Kieler Beiträge zur Wirtschaftspolitik 2, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  2. R. Schoonackers & F. Heylen, 2011. "Fiscal Policy and TFP in the OECD: A Non-Stationary Panel Approach," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 11/701, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  3. Hervé Boulhol & Laure Turner, 2009. "Employment-Productivity Trade-off and Labour Composition," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 698, OECD Publishing.
  4. Eichhorst, Werner & Gerard, Maarten & Kendzia, Michael J. & Mayrhuber, Christine & Nielsen, Conny & Rünstler, Gerhard & Url, Thomas, 2011. "Report No. 42: Pension Systems in the EU – Contingent Liabilities and Assets in the Public and Private Sector," IZA Research Reports 42, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Muysken, Joan & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2011. "Immigration and growth in an ageing economy - version 2," MERIT Working Papers 037, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  6. Ross Guest, 2013. "Population Ageing and Productivity: Implications and Policy Options for New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 13/21, New Zealand Treasury.

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