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Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us to Dinner?—Simulating the Transition Paths of the U.S., E.U., Japan, and China

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Author Info

  • Hans Fehr

    (University of Wuerzberg)

  • Sabine Jokisch,

    (University of Wuerzberg)

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

    (Boston University, National Bureau of Economic Research)

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. 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. Even if the Chinese saving behavior gradually approaches that of Americans, developed world real wages per unit of human capital are roughly 17 percent higher in 2030 and 4 percent higher at the end of the century. Without China they’d be only 2 percent higher in 2030 and 4 percent lower at Century’s end. The short-run outflow of capital to China is met with a commensurate short-run reduction in developed world labor supply, leaving the short-run ratio of physical capital to human capital, on which wages positively depend, actually somewhat higher than would otherwise be the case. On the other hand, our findings about the developed world’s fiscal condition are quite troubling. Even under the most favorable macroeconomic scenario, tax rates will rise dramatically over time in the developed world to pay baby boomers their governmentpromised pension and health benefits. As Argentina has so recently shown, countries can grow quite well for years even with unsustainable fiscal policies. But if they wait too long to address those policies, the financial markets will do it for them, with often quite ruinous consequences.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp102.

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Length: 70 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp102

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Luca MARCHIORI & Olivier PIERRARD & Henri R. SNEESSENS, 2011. "Demography, capital flows and unemployment," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011040, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  2. 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.
  3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2006. "Is the United States bankrupt?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 235-250.
  4. 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.
  5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2007. "Is the U.S. Bankrupt?," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-015, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Kuijs, Louis, 2006. "How will China's saving-investment balance evolve ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3958, The World Bank.

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