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Wellbeing of the Elderly in East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan

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  • ICHIMURA Hidehiko
  • Xiaoyan LEI
  • Chulhee LEE
  • Jinkook LEE
  • Albert PARK
  • SAWADA Yasuyuki

Abstract

East Asia is undergoing a rapid demographic transition and "super" aging. As a result of steadily decreasing fertility and increasing life expectancy, the elderly proportion of the population and the old-age dependency ratio are rising across all countries in East Asia, particularly China, Republic of Korea, and Japan. In this paper, we empirically investigate the wellbeing of the elderly in these three countries, using comparable micro-level data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), the Korean Longitudinal Study on Aging (KLoSA), and the Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR). Specifically, we examine the depressive symptom scale as a measure of wellbeing and estimate the impact of four broad categories: demographic, economic, family-social, and health. The decomposition and simulation analysis reveals that although much of the difference in mean depression rates among countries can be explained in differences in the characteristics of the elderly in the three countries, there remain significant differences across countries that cannot be explained. In particular, even after accounting for a multitude of factors, the elderly in Korea are more likely to be depressed than in China or Japan.

Suggested Citation

  • ICHIMURA Hidehiko & Xiaoyan LEI & Chulhee LEE & Jinkook LEE & Albert PARK & SAWADA Yasuyuki, 2017. "Wellbeing of the Elderly in East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan," Discussion papers 17029, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:17029
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    Cited by:

    1. Jun, Hankyung, 2020. "Social security and retirement in fast-aging middle-income countries: Evidence from Korea," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).

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