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Ageing, interest rates, and financial flows

  • Saarenheimo , Tuomas

    (Bank of Finland Research)

Registered author(s):

    The median age of the global population is presently increasing by nearly three months every year. Over the next couple of decades, almost every country in the world is set to experience an unprecedented increase in the share of elderly population. This development has the potential to fundamentally affect the functioning of economic and financial systems globally. This study concentrates on the effects of ageing on the evolution of global interest rates and financial flows. The study uses a 73-cohort general equilibrium overlapping generations model of five major economic areas (USA, EU-15, Japan, China, and India). Utilising actual population data and UN population projections, the model yields predictions for major economic and financial variables up to 2050. The model predicts a decline in global equilibrium real interest rates over the next two decades, but the size of the decline depends crucially on the future evolution of public pension benefits. If the present generosity of pension systems is maintained – leading to a steep increase in the cost of the pension systems – the maximum decline of interest rates is projected to be about 70 basis points from present levels. If pension benefits are reduced to offset the increasing cost pressures, the decline in global equilibrium interest rates can be much larger, while increases in the retirement age work in the opposite direction. The results do not anticipate a ‘financial market meltdown’ – a collapse in asset prices associated with the retirement of the baby-boomers – predicted by some. On the contrary, bond prices should fare fairly well over the next three decades. The main reason for this is that increasing life expectancy at retirement creates a need for higher retirement saving – in the future, people will want to retire wealthier than they do today. This trend more than offsets the negative effect of the retirement of baby-boomers on asset demand.

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    File URL: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/julkaisut/tutkimukset/keskustelualoitteet/Documents/0502netti.pdf
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    Paper provided by Bank of Finland in its series Research Discussion Papers with number 2/2005.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: 13 Feb 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:bofrdp:2005_002
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Bank of Finland, P.O. Box 160, FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
    Web page: http://www.suomenpankki.fi/en/

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    1. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
    2. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 19563, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    3. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Developed World's Demographic Transition - The Roles of Capital Flows, Immigration, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 10096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. von Hagen, Jürgen & Walz, Uwe, 1994. "Social Security and Migration in an Ageing Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1022, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. John Geanakoplos & Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2002. "Demography and the Long-run Predictability of the Stock Market," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1380, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    7. Miles, David, 1999. "Modelling the Impact of Demographic Change upon the Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 1-36, January.
    8. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
    9. Börsch-Supan, Axel H. & Heiss, Florian & Ludwig, Alexander & Winter, Joachim, 2003. "Pension reform, capital markets and the rate of return," Munich Reprints in Economics 20200, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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