IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Political dimensions of demographic change: an address


  • Michael S. Teitelbaum


The title of this conference, "Seismic Shifts: The Economic Impact of Demographic Change," might suggest that economic "earthquakes" lie ahead, but while the metaphor is geological, I do not think it was intended to be catastrophically geological. In fact, it is quite appropriate to visualize the demographic trends that we see under way as a kind of "human tectonics"... Of course, geological time spans centuries, millennia, millions of years. By these standards, demographic change that takes place over decades is quite rapid. Yet, by the standards of economic change, demographic change is very slow, gradual, even stately. ; If we embrace the imagery of demography as human tectonics, demographic trends--if left unattended--could produce earthquakes, and such a possibility has given rise to a number of nightmare fantasies. But enough of this geology. ; What I propose to do is to highlight some of the fantasies, often political in purpose, and the empirical facts, and then to tell you what political policy responses might emerge from careful analysis of those facts--responses that are politically difficult and perhaps painful, but less alarming and draconian than those that have been widely promoted by the fantasies.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael S. Teitelbaum, 2001. "Political dimensions of demographic change: an address," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 46.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbcp:y:2001:n:46:x:9

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    2. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Demographic shocks and global factor flows," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 46.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Demography ; Economic conditions;


    Access and download statistics


    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:fip:fedbcp:y:2001:n:46:x:9. 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: (Catherine Spozio). 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.