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Ageing, interest rates, and financial flows

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  • Saarenheimo , Tuomas

    (Bank of Finland Research)

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    Abstract

    The median age of the global population is presently increasing by nearly three months every year. Over the next couple of decades, almost every country in the world is set to experience an unprecedented increase in the share of elderly population. This development has the potential to fundamentally affect the functioning of economic and financial systems globally. This study concentrates on the effects of ageing on the evolution of global interest rates and financial flows. The study uses a 73-cohort general equilibrium overlapping generations model of five major economic areas (USA, EU-15, Japan, China, and India). Utilising actual population data and UN population projections, the model yields predictions for major economic and financial variables up to 2050. The model predicts a decline in global equilibrium real interest rates over the next two decades, but the size of the decline depends crucially on the future evolution of public pension benefits. If the present generosity of pension systems is maintained – leading to a steep increase in the cost of the pension systems – the maximum decline of interest rates is projected to be about 70 basis points from present levels. If pension benefits are reduced to offset the increasing cost pressures, the decline in global equilibrium interest rates can be much larger, while increases in the retirement age work in the opposite direction. The results do not anticipate a ‘financial market meltdown’ – a collapse in asset prices associated with the retirement of the baby-boomers – predicted by some. On the contrary, bond prices should fare fairly well over the next three decades. The main reason for this is that increasing life expectancy at retirement creates a need for higher retirement saving – in the future, people will want to retire wealthier than they do today. This trend more than offsets the negative effect of the retirement of baby-boomers on asset demand.

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    File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/julkaisut/tutkimukset/keskustelualoitteet/Documents/0502netti.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 2/2005.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: 13 Feb 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2005_002

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    Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
    Web page: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/
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    Related research

    Keywords: ageing; real interest rates; financial flows; public pension systems;

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    References

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    1. Robert E. Hall, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Heiß, Florian & Winter, Joachim, 2000. "Pension reform, capital markets, and the rate of return," Discussion Papers 589, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
    3. John Geanakoplos & Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2002. "Demography and the Long-run Predictability of the Stock Market," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1380, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. M. Fatih Guvenen, 2002. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: A Macroeconomic Perspective," RCER Working Papers 491, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER), revised Mar 2003.
    5. von Hagen, Jürgen & Walz, Uwe, 1994. "Social Security and Migration in an Ageing Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Miles, David, 1999. "Modelling the Impact of Demographic Change upon the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 1-36, January.
    7. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 153-158, March.
    8. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Larry Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Developed World's Demographic Transition - the Roles of Capital Flows, Immigration, and Policy," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-133, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    9. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Fehr, Hans & Jokisch, Sabine & Kallweit, Manuel & Kindermann, Fabian & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2013. "Generational Policy and Aging in Closed and Open Dynamic General Equilibrium Models," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    2. Heikki Oksanen, 2005. "Actuarial Neutrality across Generations Applied to Public Pensions under Population Ageing: Effects on Government Finances and National Saving," CESifo Working Paper Series 1501, CESifo Group Munich.

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