Demographic change and economic growth in Sweden: 1750-2050
This paper addresses two issues. To what extent can models estimated on modern data be used to account for growth patterns in the past? Can information on historical patterns help to improve long-term forecasting of economic growth? We consider a reduced-form statistical model based on the demographic dividend literature. Assuming that there is a common DGP guiding growth through the demographic transition, we use an estimate from post-war global data to backcast the Swedish historical GDP growth. The results indicate that the assumption of a common DGP can be warranted, at least back to 1870. Given the stability of the relationship between population and growth, we use the model to forecast income for the next 50 years. We compare our approach to a previous attempt to simulate the long-term Swedish growth path with an endogenous growth model. Encompassing tests show that each of the models contains independent information on the Swedish growth path, suggesting that there is a benefit from combining them for long-term forecasting.
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