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Global Demography: Fact, Force and Future

  • David E. Bloom

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • David Canning

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

In the past 50 years, the world accelerated its transition out of long-term demographic stability. As infant and child mortality rates fell, populations began to soar. In most countries, this growth led to falling fertility rates. Although fertility has fallen, the population continues to increase because of population momentum; it will eventually level off. In the meantime, demographic change has created a ‘bulge’ generation, which today appears in many countries as a large working-age population. This cohort will eventually become a large elderly population, in both developed and developing countries. Population growth has been the subject of great debate among economists and demographers. Until recently, most have agreed on a middle ground, in which population growth per se has no effect on economic growth. New evidence suggests that changes in the age structure of populations – in particular, a rising ratio of working-age to non-working-age individuals – leads to the possibility of more rapid economic growth, via both accounting and behavioural effects. The experiences of east Asia, Ireland and sub-Saharan Africa all serve as evidence of the effect of demographic change on economic growth (or lack thereof). Both internal migration (from rural to urban areas) and international migration complicate this picture. The overall implications of population growth for policy lie in the imperative for investments in health and education, and for sound policies related to labour, trade and retirement. Understanding future trends is essential for the development of good policy. Demographic projections can be quite reliable, but huge uncertainties – in the realms of health, changes in human life span, scientific advances, migration, global warming and wars – make overall predictions extremely uncertain.

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File URL: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda/WorkingPapers/2006/PGDA_WP_14.pdf
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Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 1406.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:1406
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/pgda

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  1. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Mark Weston, 2005. "The Value of Vaccination," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(3), pages 15-39, July.
  2. Mariano Kulish & Kathryn Smith & Christopher Kent, 2006. "Ageing, Retirement and Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2006-06, Reserve Bank of Australia.
  3. David Bloom & David Canning & Rick Mansfield & Michael Moore, 2006. "Demographic Change, Social Security Systems, and Savings," PGDA Working Papers 1906, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  4. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore, 2004. "The Effect of Improvements in Health and Longevity on Optimal Retirement and Saving," NBER Working Papers 10919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1997. "Demographic Transitions and Economic Miracles in Emerging Asia," NBER Working Papers 6268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2004. "Global demographic change : dimensions and economic significance," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 9-56.
  7. Kelley, Allen C, 1988. "Economic Consequences of Population Change in the Third World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 1685-1728, December.
  8. Nan Li & Ronald Lee, 2005. "Coherent mortality forecasts for a group of populations: An extension of the lee-carter method," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 575-594, August.
  9. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
  10. Bloom, David E. & Canning, David & Sevilla, Jaypee, 2004. "The Effect of Health on Economic Growth: A Production Function Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, January.
  11. Samuel H. Preston, 1996. "American Longevity: Past, Present, and Future," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 7, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  12. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Michael Moore & Younghwan Song, 2006. "The Effect of Subjective Survival Probabilities on Retirement and Wealth in the United States," PGDA Working Papers 1706, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  13. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Bryan Graham, 2003. "Longevity and Life-cycle Savings," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(3), pages 319-338, 09.
  14. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Pia N. Malaney, 1999. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," CID Working Papers 15, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  15. David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2003. "Contraception and the Celtic Tiger," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 229–247.
  16. David E. Bloom & Richard B. Freeman, 1986. "Population Growth, Labor Supply, and Employment in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 1837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. David E. BLOOM & Jocelyn E. FINLAY, 2009. "Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 45-64.
  18. Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, 2005. "Migration and Development," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 6(2), pages 141-146, April.
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