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Gerontocracy in Motion? European Cross-Country Evidence on the Labor Market Consequences of Population Ageing

  • Fertig, Michael


    (ISG, Cologne)

  • Schmidt, Christoph M.



Taking a European cross-country perspective, this paper addresses the most important issues in the nexus of population ageing and labor markets. We start from a descriptive overview of the demographic change currently shaping European societies. The subsequent section intensively discusses the potential consequences of these demographic processes for and interdependencies with the labor market situation in Europe. We place particular emphasis on the issue of non-competitive wage setting. In our empirical application we demonstrate that moderately large birth cohorts seem to experience lower employment rates, but also that education investments might be able to mitigate these consequences, and that the relative economic success of large cohorts might even be disproportionately positive. Finally, in the concluding section we review possible policy options for coping with the consequences of population ageing.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 956.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Wright, Robert E. (ed.), Scotland's Demographic Challenge, Scottish Economic Policy Network, Stirling-Glasgow, 2004
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp956
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  1. Robert Shimer, 2001. "The Impact Of Young Workers On The Aggregate Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 969-1007, August.
  2. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
  3. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "Will Bequests Attenuate The Predicted Meltdown In Stock Prices When Baby Boomers Retire?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 589-595, November.
  4. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Wright, Robert E, 1991. "Cohort Size and Earnings in Great Britain," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 295-305, November.
  6. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  7. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Demographic Structure And Asset Returns," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 565-584, November.
  8. Connelly, Rachel & Gottschalk, Peter, 1995. "The Effect of Cohort Composition on Human Capital Accumulation across Generations," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 155-76, January.
  9. Stapleton, David C & Young, Douglas J, 1988. "Educational Attainment and Cohort Size," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(3), pages 330-61, July.
  10. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  11. Dahlberg, Susanne & Nahum, Ruth-Aïda, 2003. "Cohort Effects on Earnings Profiles: Evidence from Sweden," Working Paper Series 2003:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  12. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Richard B. Freeman, 1979. "The Effect of Demographic Factors on Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 289-318.
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