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Labor market effects of population aging

  • Axel Börsch-Supan


    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

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    This paper analyzes effects of population aging on the labor market and determines their broad implications for public policy. It takes Germany as an example, but it equally applies to the other large economies in Continental Europe. The paper argues that, alongside the amply discussed, demographically-determined increase in the contribution and tax burden which is responsible for the ever widening gap between gross and disposable earnings, two other important areas of policy deserve greater attention. First, it is unlikely that the decline in the relative size of the economically active population will be offset by higher capital intensity. Labor productivity will need to increase over and above this mechanism in order to compensate for the impact of population aging on domestic production. Hence, we will need more education and training to speed up human capital formation. Second, the shift in the age structure will also change the structure of demand for goods. This, in turn, will have large effects on the pattern of employment across different sectors of the economy and will require a substantial increase in labor mobility in order to accommodate these structural changes.

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    Paper provided by Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in its series MEA discussion paper series with number 02011.

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    Date of creation: 22 Jan 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:02011
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    Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Amalienstraße 33, 80799 München, Germany

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    1. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Ludwig, Alexander & Winter, Joachim, 2002. "Aging and International Capital Flows," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-27, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    2. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-78, May.
    3. Fehr, Hans, 1999. "Pension reform during the demographic transition," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 8, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
    4. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "Employee Retirement and a Firm's Pension Plan," NBER Working Papers 2323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Three Models of Retirement: Computational Complexity versus Predictive Validity," NBER Chapters, in: Topics in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Palacios, Robert & Rocha, Roberto, 1998. "The Hungarian pension system in transition," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 20048, The World Bank.
    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. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
    9. Sikandar Siddiqui, 1997. "The pension incentive to retire: Empirical evidence for West Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 463-486.
    10. Riphahn, Regina T. & Schmidt, Peter, 1995. "Determinanten des Rentenzugangs: Lockt der Ruhestand oder drängt der Arbeitsmarkt?," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-10, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. Cigno, Alessandro, 1995. "Public pensions with endogenous fertility: Comment on Nishimura and Zhang," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 169-173, May.
    12. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 2000. "A Model under Siege: A Case Study of the German Retirement Insurance System," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(461), pages F24-45, February.
    13. Richard Disney, 1996. "Can We Afford to Grow Older?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026204157x, December.
    14. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 2000. "Incentive effects of social security on labor force participation: evidence in Germany and across Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 25-49, October.
    15. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1988. "The Pension Inducement to Retire: An Option Value Analysis," NBER Working Papers 2660, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Disney, Richard, 1999. "Notional accounts as a pension reform strategy : an evaluation," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 21302, The World Bank.
    17. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Lührmann, Melanie, 2000. "Prinzipien der Renten- und Pensionsbesteuerung," Discussion Papers 584, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
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