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Grey Horizons: Who Pays for Old Age in the 21st Century?

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  • Paul Johnson

Abstract

This article challenges pessimistic interpretations of the economic impact of population ageing that have been advanced by the World Bank and others. Common perceptions of an 'old age crisis' are shown to result from a narrow reading of demographic data. Future changes in the age structure of the population will be no greater than those already experienced and accommodated in the last fifty years, and estimates of demographic dependency ratios provide an unreliable basis for future economic projections. Although population ageing will require a larger proportion of income to be transferred from years of work to years of retirement, this cost cannot be significantly reduced by shifting from public to private pension systems. Moreover, the cost is one that we should welcome; it is the price we have to pay for longer life. Copyright 1996 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

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  • Paul Johnson, 1996. "Grey Horizons: Who Pays for Old Age in the 21st Century?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 29(3), pages 261-271.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:29:y:1996:i:3:p:261-271
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    File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-8462.1996.tb00930.x
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    Cited by:

    1. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1998. "Economic Costs of Population Aging," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 339, McMaster University.
    2. Frank T. Denton & Byron G. Spencer, 1999. "Population Aging and Its Costs: A Survey of the Issues and Evidence," Department of Economics Working Papers 1999-03, McMaster University.
    3. Daina McDonald, 2006. "150 Issues of The Australian Economic Review: The Changing Face of a Journal over Time," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2006n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

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