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Optimal fertility under age-dependent labor productivity

Listed author(s):
  • PESTIEAU, P.

    ()

    (Université de Liège, CORE, PSE and CEPR)

  • PONTHIERE, G.

    ()

    (Universite Paris East and PSE)

In the so-called Rapport Sauvy (1962), the French demographer Alfred Sauvy argued that Wallonia’s fertility rate was socially suboptimal, and recommended a 20 % rise of fertility, on the grounds that a society with too low a fertility leads to a low-productive economy composed of old workers having old ideas. This paper examines how Sauvy’s intuition can be incorporated in the seminal Samuelsonian optimal fertility model (Samuelson 1975). For that purpose, we build a 4-period OLG model with physical capital and with two generations of workers (young and old), the skills of the latter being subject to some form of decay. We characterize the optimal fertility rate, and show that this equalizes, at the margin, the sum of the capital dilution effect (Solow effect) and the labor age-composition effect (Sauvy effect) with the intergenerational redistribution effect (Samuelson effect). Finally, we develop a numerical example, and examine how Sauvy’s recommendation can be reconcilied with facts.

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File URL: http://www.uclouvain.be/cps/ucl/doc/core/documents/coredp2015_43web.pdf
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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2015043.

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Date of creation: 19 Oct 2015
Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2015043
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  1. Michel, Philippe & Pestieau, P, 1993. "Population Growth and Optimality: When Does Serendipity Hold?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 6(4), pages 353-362, November.
  2. David Croix & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2012. "How powerful is demography? The Serendipity Theorem revisited," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(3), pages 899-922, July.
  3. van Ours, J.C. & Stoeldraijer, L., 2010. "Age, Wage and Productivity," Discussion Paper 2010-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Deardorff, Alan V, 1976. "The Optimum Growth Rate for Population: Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 17(2), pages 510-515, June.
  5. Blackorby,Charles & Bossert,Walter & Donaldson,David J., 2005. "Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521532587, Diciembre.
  6. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1994. "Consumer Demand and the Life-Cycle Allocation of Household Expenditures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80.
  7. Gemma Abio, 2003. "Interiority of the optimal population growth rate with endogenous fertility," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(4), pages 1-7.
  8. Christian Göbel & Thomas Zwick, 2012. "Age and Productivity: Sector Differences," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 35-57, March.
  9. Weiss, Matthias & Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2011. "Productivity and age: Evidence from work teams at the assembly line," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48719, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  10. Pierre Pestieau & Gregory Ponthiere, 2014. "Optimal fertility along the life cycle," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(1), pages 185-224, January.
  11. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 183-207, March.
  12. Del Rey, Elena & Lopez-Garcia, Miguel-Angel, 2013. "Optimal education and pensions in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(4), pages 1737-1750.
  13. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
  14. Vegard Skirbekk, 2003. "Age and individual productivity: a literature survey," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2003-028, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  15. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 1986. "Social criteria for evaluating population change: An alternative to the Blackorby-Donaldson criterion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 375-381, April.
  16. Stoeldraijer, Lenny & van Ours, Jan C, 2010. "Age, wage and productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 7713, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Stelter, Robert, 2016. "Over-aging — Are present-day human populations too old?," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 116-143.
  18. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2003:i:4:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Samuelson, Paul A, 1975. "The Optimum Growth Rate for Population," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(3), pages 531-538, October.
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