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Global Demographic Change: Dimensions and Economic Significance

  • David E. Bloom
  • David Canning

Transitions from high mortality and fertility to low mortality and fertility can be beneficial to economies as large baby boom cohorts enter the workforce and save for retirement, while rising longevity has perhaps increased both the incentive to invest in education and to save for retirement. We present estimates of a model of economic growth that highlights the positive effects of demographic change during 1960-95. We also show how Ireland benefited from lower fertility in the form of higher labor supply per capita and how Taiwan benefited through increased savings rates. We emphasize, however, that the realization of the potential benefits associated with the demographic transition appears to be dependent on institutions and policies, requiring the productive employment of the potential workers and savings the transition generates. Economic projections based on an "accounting" approach that assumes constant age-specific behavior are likely to be seriously misleading.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10817.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Publication status: published as David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2004. "Global demographic change : dimensions and economic significance," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 9-56.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10817
Note: AG LS
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