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Demographic Change and Economic Growth in Asia

  • David E. Bloom

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • David Canning

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Jocelyn E. Finlay

    ()

    (Harvard School of Public Health)

In 1994 the World Bank called East Asia's strong economic growth performance a "miracle". Trade openness, high savings rates, human capital accumulation, and macroeconomic policy only explained part of this growth performance; the remainder was left unexplained. Research in the ensuing years has shown that when demographic change in East Asia is taken into account, the miracle is explained. These earlier studies used the 1960-1990 sample period, but since 1990 Asia has undergone major economic reforms in response to financial crises and other factors. Moreover, rapid demographic change has continued in East Asia, and in Asia more generally, with fertility rates falling below replacement in many of these countries. In this paper, we re-examine the role of the demographic transition in explaining cross-country differences in economic growth, with a particular focus on East Asia. With the working-age share beginning to decline in many Asian countries, innovation and flexibility in the labor market will be required for them to continue to enjoy the high rates of economic growth they have experienced to date.

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Paper provided by Program on the Global Demography of Aging in its series PGDA Working Papers with number 4108.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:gdm:wpaper:4108
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