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Generational Conflict, Human Capital Accumulation, and Economic Growth

Worldwide, dependency ratios are forecast to increase dramatically in the next 50 years. A great deal of attention has been devoted to understanding the changes in fiscal policies that "must" take place to accommodate these changes. In contrast, less effort has been concentrated on studying the fiscal shifts that will endogenously result from deographic pressures. An example of particular interest is the degree to which a more elderly population will support public spending for education. We use an overlapping-generations model to investigate the effect of this demographic transition on the endogenous determination of public spending for education. A demographic transition alters the identity of the median voter, leading to a preference for less education spending. If the public sector is inefficiently small, demographic transition exacerbates the underprovision of human capital. Alternatively, such a shift may trim an inefficiently large government, reduce tax rates, and raise capital per worker enough to raise education spending. Thus, there is no automatic link between demographic transition and reduced support for those programs whose benefits are concentrated among the young.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 28.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:28
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  1. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "Demographics, Political Power and Economic Growth," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(Supplemen), pages 349-65.
  2. Lex Meijdam & Harrie Verbon, 1996. "Aging and political decision making on public pensions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 141-158, June.
  3. Bovenberg, A.L. & van Ewijk, C., 1997. "Progressive taxes, equity and human capital accumulation in an endogenous growth model with overlapping generations," Other publications TiSEM 6d8dd905-8f4d-4b98-8202-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  4. Wright, Randall, 1996. "Taxes, redistribution, and growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 327-338, November.
  5. Cutler, D.M. & Poterba, J.M. & Sheiner, L.M. & Summers, L.H., 1990. "An Aging Society: Opportunity Or Challenge," Working papers 553, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Mankiw, N Gregory & Romer, David & Weil, David N, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-37, May.
  7. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
  8. repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Kaganovich, M & Zilcha, I, 1997. "Education, Social Security and Growth," Papers 1-97, Tel Aviv.
  10. Coronado Julia Lynn & Fullerton Don & Glass Thomas, 2011. "The Progressivity of Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, November.
  11. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
  12. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1992. "Growth, distribution and politics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 593-602, April.
  13. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1996. "Endogenous public policy and multiple equilibria," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 653-662, April.
  14. Brueckner, Jan K, 1999. " Fiscal Federalism and Capital Accumulation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 1(2), pages 205-24.
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