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How Demographic Change can Bolster Economic Performance in Developing Countries

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  • David E. Bloom
  • David Canning

Abstract

Falling mortality rates spurred by medical, nutritional and lifestyle changes have spurred a ‘demographic transition’ in a majority of the world’s countries. As couples realize their children are more likely to survive, they need, and eventually have, fewer of them to attain their desired family size. In addition, desired fertility tends to decline as earnings opportunities improve since forgone income is such a large portion of the cost of childrearing. In the lag between mortality and fertility declines, a ‘boom’ generation is created, which is larger than both preceding and successor cohorts. As this boom generation reaches working age, the combination of a greater supply of workers and fewer dependents to support gives countries the opportunity to collect a ‘demographic dividend’. If an appropriate policy environment is in place for making the most of this opportunity, the economic benefits can be, and in many cases have been, great.

Suggested Citation

  • David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2003. "How Demographic Change can Bolster Economic Performance in Developing Countries," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(4), pages 1-14, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:155
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    Cited by:

    1. Rod Tyers & Jane Golley & Ian Bain, 2007. "Projected Economic Growth in China and India: The Role of Demographic Change," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2006-477, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    2. World Bank, "undated". "World Bank East Asia and Pacific Economic Update, October 2013 : Rebuilding Policy Buffers, Reinvigorating Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 16207, The World Bank.
    3. Andreea Balan-Cohen, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? The Impact of the Old Age Assistance Program on Elderly Mortality in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0719, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    4. Cao, Jerry & Cumming, Douglas & Wang, Xiaoming, 2015. "One-child policy and family firms in China," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 317-329.
    5. James Lachaud & Vissého Adjiwanou & Thomas LeGrand & Jean-François Kobiané, 2014. "Family size and intra-family inequalities in education in Ouagadougou," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(49), pages 1455-1476, December.
    6. Husain, Muhammad Jami, 2010. "Contribution of health to economic development: A survey and overview," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 4, pages 1-52.
    7. repec:eee:joecag:v:1-2:y:2013:i::p:16-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Husain, Muhammad Jami, 2009. "Contribution of health to economic development: a survey and overview," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-40, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    9. Hassan, Sherif, 2016. "Seventy Years of Official Development Assistance: Reflections on the Working Age Population," MPRA Paper 74835, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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