IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Does demographic change matter for growth?


  • Liao, Pei-Ju


How important is the demographic transition for economic growth? To answer this question, this paper constructs a general equilibrium overlapping generations model with endogenous fertility. The model is calibrated to data from Taiwan, a country that experienced rapid economic growth while undergoing significant demographic transition. Our results suggest that more than one-third of the output growth in Taiwan during the past four decades can be attributed to demographic transition, while TFP growth explains another third and the remainder is mainly due to skill-biased technological progress. Our results show that demographic change is an important driver of the growth process in countries undergoing rapid fertility decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Liao, Pei-Ju, 2011. "Does demographic change matter for growth?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 659-677, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:5:p:659-677

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Pia N. Malaney, 1999. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," CID Working Papers 15, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    2. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191.
    3. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
    4. Oded Galor, 2005. "The Demographic Transition and the Emergence of Sustained Economic Growth," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 494-504, 04/05.
    5. Matthias Doepke, 2004. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 347-383, September.
    6. Fallon, P R & Layard, P R G, 1975. "Capital-Skill Complementarity, Income Distribution, and Output Accounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 279-301, April.
    7. Bloom, David E & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1998. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 419-455, September.
    8. Young, Alwyn, 1994. "Lessons from the East Asian NICS: A contrarian view," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 964-973, April.
    9. Tallman, Ellis W. & Wang, Ping, 1994. "Human capital and endogenous growth evidence from Taiwan," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 101-124, August.
    10. Jin-Long Liu & Ching-Chun Hsu, 2004. "Economies of scale, gender discrimination, and cost of children," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(6), pages 377-382.
    11. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
    12. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    13. Donald Cox & Fredric Raines, 1985. "Interfamily Transfers and Income Redistribution," NBER Chapters,in: Horizontal Equity, Uncertainty, and Economic Well-Being, pages 393-426 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Barro, Robert J & Becker, Gary S, 1989. "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 481-501, March.
    15. David E. BLOOM & Jocelyn E. FINLAY, 2009. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 45-64.
    16. Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2002. "The Importance of Bequests and Life-Cycle Saving in Capital Accumulation: A New Answer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 274-278, May.
    17. Oded Galor & Omer Moav & Dietrich Vollrath, 2009. "Inequality in Landownership, the Emergence of Human-Capital Promoting Institutions, and the Great Divergence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(1), pages 143-179.
    18. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    19. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri, 2002. "The U.S. Demographic Transition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 153-159, May.
    20. Alwyn Young, 1992. "A Tale of Two Cities: Factor Accumulation and Technical Change in Hong Kong and Singapore," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 13-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. David de la Croix & Matthias Doepke, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: Why Differential Fertility Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1091-1113, September.
    22. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "The Origins of Technology-Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 693-732.
    23. Alwyn Young, 1995. "The Tyranny of Numbers: Confronting the Statistical Realities of the East Asian Growth Experience," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 641-680.
    24. Michael Bar & Oksana Leukhina, 2010. "Demographic Transition and Industrial Revolution: A Macroeconomic Investigation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 424-451, April.
    25. Cheng, Benjamin S. & Nwachukwu, Savior L. S., 1997. "The effect of education on fertility in Taiwan: A time series analysis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 95-99, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Vogel, Edgar & Ludwig, Alexander & Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2017. "Aging and pension reform: extending the retirement age and human capital formation," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(01), pages 81-107, January.
    2. repec:mea:meawpa:12257 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dimitrios Varvarigos & Intan Zanariah Zakaria, 2011. "Growth and Demographic Change: Do Environmental Factors Matter?," Discussion Papers in Economics 11/46, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    4. Kunze, Lars, 2014. "Life expectancy and economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 54-65.
    5. Bjorvatn, Kjetil & Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza, 2013. "Demographic Transition in Resource Rich Countries: A Blessing or a Curse?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 337-351.
    6. Xue, Jianpo & Yip, Chong K., 2017. "One-child policy in China : A unified growth analysis," BOFIT Discussion Papers 22/2017, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:5:p:659-677. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.