Charting the Economic Life Cycle
AbstractUnderstanding the economic lifecycle %u2013 how it varies and why %u2013 is important in its own right, but is also critical to understanding how changes in population age structure influence many features of the macroeconomy. Economic behavior over the life cycle can be summarized by the average levels of consumption and labor earnings at each age, as shaped by biology, culture, institutions and individual choice. Here we present estimates of these in detail for the US and Taiwan, showing the roles played by public and familial transfer systems as well as asset accumulation, and present more basic profiles for selected additional countries drawing on studies from a larger project. Average economic dependency occurs when consumption exceeds labor earnings, typically in childhood and old age. A changing population age distribution alters the relative numbers of weighted consumers and producers, as summarized by the support ratio. The %u201Cdemographic dividend%u201D occurs during a sustained period of improving support ratios during the demographic transition, as can be shown using these profiles. The estimated cross-sectional age profiles of labor income have a broadly similar hump shape. However, there are striking contrasts in the timing of earnings over the life cycle. The consumption profiles reveal even more striking contrasts, with a flat age profile of total adult consumption in Taiwan and a steeply rising one in the U.S. We believe these differences reflect the extended family versus the state as the primary locus of transfers to the elderly. Profiles for private consumption are also quite variable, with Indonesia peaking early around age 25, Taiwan being essentially flat, and the US peaking late at around 55. Private expenditures on education show wide variations, with unusually high expenditures in some Asian countries. Because of possible public-private substitutions, it is questionable to assign causality to either for differences in total consumption, but it is hard to avoid noticing that without public spending on Medicare and institutional Medicaid in the U.S., total consumption would decline after 55, whereas with them, it rises strongly. There is only a short period of life during which production exceeds consumption barely more than 30 years in the US, Taiwan, and Thailand. The brevity of this phase contrasts sharply with high life expectancy, approaching 80 years in many countries.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12379.
Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Deaton, Angus, 1991.
"Saving and Liquidity Constraints,"
Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1991. "National Saving and Economic Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern91-2.
- Cutler, D.M. & Poterba, J.M. & Sheiner, L.M. & Summers, L.H., 1990.
"An Aging Society: Opportunity Or Challenge,"
553, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
- John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & David N. Weil, 1990.
"The Baby Boom, The Baby Bust, and the Housing Market,"
NBER Working Papers
2794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mankiw, N. Gregory & Weil, David N., 1989. "The baby boom, the baby bust, and the housing market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 235-258, May.
- David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001.
"The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration,"
NBER Working Papers
8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
- David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content Of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333, November.
- Jonathan Gruber & David Wise, 2001. "An International Perspective on Policies for an Aging Society," NBER Working Papers 8103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
- Dwyer, Debra Sabatini & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999.
"Health problems as determinants of retirement: Are self-rated measures endogenous?,"
Journal of Health Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 173-193, April.
- Debra Sabatini Dwyer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1998. "Health Problems as Determinants of Retirement: Are Self-Rated Measures Endogenous?," NBER Working Papers 6503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Debra S. Dwyer & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "Health Problems as Determinants of Retirement: Are Self-Rated Measures Endogenous?," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-7, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
- Ronald Lee & Ryan Edwards, 2002. "The Fiscal Effects of Population Aging in the U.S.: Assessing the Uncertainties," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 141-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
- Ronald D. Lee & Ryan D. Edwards, 2001. "The fiscal impact of population change," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 46.
- Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Andrew Mason & Ronald Lee & An-Chi Tung & Mun-Sim Lai & Tim Miller, 2006.
"Population Aging and Intergenerational Transfers: Introducing Age into National Accounts,"
NBER Working Papers
12770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Andrew Mason & Ronald Lee & An-Chi Tung & Mun-Sim Lai & Tim Miller, 2009. "Population Aging and Intergenerational Transfers: Introducing Age into National Accounts," NBER Chapters, in: Developments in the Economics of Aging, pages 89-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Orazio Attanasio & James Banks & Costas Meghir & Guglielmo Weber, 1995.
"Humps and bumps in lifetime consumption,"
IFS Working Papers
W95/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Ronald D Lee & Andrew Mason & Tim Miller, 1998. "Saving, Wealth, and Population," Working Papers 199805, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
- Chris Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989.
"Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence,"
NBER Working Papers
3090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Christopher D. Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 305-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joseph F. Quinn & Richard V. Burkhauser & Daniel A. Myers, 1990. "Passing the Torch: The Influence of Economic Incentives on Work and Retirement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number pt, October.
- Daniel L. McFadden, 1994. "Demographics, the Housing Market, and the Welfare of the Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 225-288 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Liviano Solís, Daniel & Arauzo Carod, Josep Maria, 2013.
"Spatial Exploration of Age Distribution in Catalan Municipalities,"
2072/220222, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
- Daniel Liviano & Josep-Maria Arauzo-Carod, 2012. "Spatial Exploration of Age Distribution in Catalan Municipalities," ERSA conference papers ersa12p81, European Regional Science Association.
- Marga Peeters & Loek Groot, 2012.
"A Global View On Demographic Pressure And Labour Market Participation,"
Journal of Global Economy,
Research Centre for Social Sciences,Mumbai, India, vol. 8(2), pages 165-194, June.
- Groot, Loek & Peeters, Marga, 2011. "A global view on demographic pressure and labour market participation," MPRA Paper 32057, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Salas, J.M. Ian S. & Abrigo, Michael Ralph M. & Racelis, Rachel H., 2012. "Philippines 2007 National Transfer Accounts: Financing Consumption and Lifecycle Deficit by Income Group," Discussion Papers DP 2012-33, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
- Peeters, Marga, 2012. "Asymmetric demographic pressure in South-Mediterranean versus North-Mediterranean economies and its impact on international gross capital flows," MPRA Paper 39635, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Kosei Fukuda, 2007. "Age-period-cohort decomposition of social security taxes and benefits in the USA and Japan," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 227-240, November.
- Heinrich Hock & David N. Weil, 2006.
"The Dynamics of the Age Structure, Dependency, and Consumption,"
NBER Working Papers
12140, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- David Weil & Heinrich Hock, 2006. "The Dynamics of the Age Structure, Dependency, and Consumption," Working Papers 2006-08, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Salas, J.M. Ian S. & Abrigo, Michael Ralph M. & Racelis, Rachel H., 2012. "Philippines 2007 National Transfer Accounts: Consumption, Income, and Intergenerational Reallocation of Resources," Discussion Papers DP 2012-29, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
- Zamac, Jovan, 2007. "Pension design when fertility fluctuates: The role of education and capital mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 619-639, April.
- Salas, J.M. Ian S. & Abrigo, Michael Ralph M. & Racelis, Rachel H., 2012. "Philippines 2007 National Transfer Accounts: Consumption, Labor Income, and Lifecycle Deficit by Income Group," Discussion Papers DP 2012-32, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
- Fanny A. Kluge, 2009. "Transfers, consumption and income over the lifecycle in Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-014, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- Ronald Lee & Andrew Mason, 2010. "Some macroeconomic aspects of global population aging," Demography, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages S151-S172, March.
- David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink & Jocelyn Finlay, 2007. "Realizing the Demographic Dividend: Is Africa any different?," PGDA Working Papers 2307, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
- Emilio Zagheni, 2011. "The Leverage of Demographic Dynamics on Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Does Age Structure Matter?," Demography, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 371-399, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.