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The Dynamics of the Age Structure, Dependency, and Consumption

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  • Heinrich Hock
  • David N. Weil

Abstract

We examine the dynamic interaction of the population age structure, economic dependency, and fertility, paying particular attention to the role of intergenerational transfers. In the short run, a reduction in fertility produces a %u201Cdemographic dividend%u201D that allows for higher consumption. In the long run, however, higher old-age dependency can more than offset this effect. To analyze these dynamics we develop a highly tractable continuous-time overlapping generations model in which population is divided into three groups (young, working age, and old) and transitions between groups take place in a probabilistic fashion. We show that most highly developed countries have fertility below the rate that maximizes steady state consumption. Further, the dependency-minimizing response to increased longevity is to raise fertility. In the face of the high taxes required to support transfers to a growing aged population, we demonstrate that the actual response of fertility will likely be exactly the opposite, leading to increased population aging.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12140.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Publication status: published as Heinrich Hock & David Weil, 2012. "On the dynamics of the age structure, dependency, and consumption," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 1019-1043, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12140

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  1. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-87, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Anikó Bíró, 2013. "Subjective mortality hazard shocks and the adjustment of consumption expenditures," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1379-1408, October.
  2. Daniel Liviano & Josep-Maria Arauzo-Carod, 2012. "Spatial Exploration of Age Distribution in Catalan Municipalities," ERSA conference papers ersa12p81, European Regional Science Association.
  3. Anthony Strittmatter & Uwe Sunde, 2013. "Health and economic development—evidence from the introduction of public health care," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 1549-1584, October.
  4. Renuga Nagarajan & Aurora A.C. Teixeira & Sandra T. Silva, 2013. "The impact of population ageing on economic growth: an in-depth bibliometric analysis," FEP Working Papers 505, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  5. Narciso, Alexandre, 2010. "The impact of population ageing on international capital flows," MPRA Paper 26457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Renuga Nagarajan & Aurora A.C. Teixeira & Sandra T. Silva, 2013. "The impact of an ageing population on economic growth: an exploratory review of the main mechanisms," FEP Working Papers 504, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  7. David Weil, 2006. "Population Aging," Working Papers 2006-09, Brown University, Department of Economics.

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