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Demographic Dividends Revisited

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  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

    (Laird Bell Professor of Economics, emeritus, of Harvard University and an Honorary Fellow of the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin)

Abstract

This paper revisits demographic dividend issues after almost 2 decades of debate. In 1998, David Bloom and I used a convergence model to estimate the impact of demographic-transition-driven age structure effects and calculated what the literature has come to call the “demographic dividend.” These early estimates seem to be similar to those coming from more recent overlapping generation models, when properly estimated. Research has shown that the demographic dividend is not simply a labor participation rate effect, but also a growth effect. Life-cycle savings, investment deepening, foreign capital flows, and schooling have all been greatly affected by the demographic transition. The paper discusses just how much of these positive growth effects are based on accelerating human capital accumulation induced by demand-side quality–quantity trade-offs versus a co-movement between demographic transitions and public schooling supply-side expansions. Since emigration has been driven in part by demography, it has wasted some of the demographic dividend by brain drain. In addition, within-country rural–urban migrations have also been driven in part by demographic transitions with different spatial timing. Finally, the paper shows how lifetime—not just annual—income inequality has been influenced by demographic transitions. © 2013 Asian Development Bank and Asian Development Bank Institute.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2013. "Demographic Dividends Revisited," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 30(2), pages 1-25, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:adbadr:v:30:y:2013:i:2:p:1-25
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    Cited by:

    1. Gemma Abio Roig & Concepció Patxot Cardoner & Miguel Sánchez-Romero & Guadalupe Souto Nieves, 2015. "The Welfare State and the demographic dividend: A cross-country comparison," UB Economics Working Papers 2015/332, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    2. repec:spr:series:v:9:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13209-017-0164-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:36:y:2017:i:48 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Miguel Sánchez Romero & Naohiro Ogawa & Rikiya Matsukura, 2013. "To give or not to give: bequest estimate and wealth impact based on a CGE model with realistic demography in Japan," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    demographic transitions; demographic dividends; growth; inequality; Asia;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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