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Demographic shocks and global factor flows

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

How economists view the impact of demography on economic events has changed a great deal over the past decade or so. When, in the late 1980s, Allen Kelley (1988) was writing his magisterial survey on the economic consequences of population growth in the Third World, the conventional wisdom was that Malthus did not matter much. Furthermore, the focus was on aggregate population growth. Since Kelley's 1988 survey, we have learned two important lessons that should have been obvious then, but were not: First, changes in the composition of the population often matter far more than changes in population aggregates; and second, when it comes to demographic impact, we need to think about long transitions rather than equilibrium steady states. These two lessons have taught us a great deal about the connection between demographic shocks and global factor flows--and even about growth.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal Conference Series ; [Proceedings].

Volume (Year): 46 (2001)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcp:y:2001:n:46:x:6
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  1. Taylor, Alan M., 1995. "Debt, dependence and the demographic Transition: Latin America in to the next century," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 869-879, May.
  2. Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1991. "Capital Flows to the New World as an Intergenerational Transfer," NBER Historical Working Papers 0032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 2001. "Demographic and Economic Pressure on Emigration out of Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
  5. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1997. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," NBER Working Papers 6268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519, March.
  7. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
  8. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, June.
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