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Demographic Changes and International Factor Mobility

  • John F. Helliwell

This paper reviews the extent and policy implications of linkages between demographic changes and international factor mobility. Evidence is found of significant demographic effects on both migration and the current account, but for different reasons neither increased migration nor international transfers of savings is expected to offer much assistance in digesting the variety of demographic transitions expected over the next fifty years. The paper also examines more briefly the effects of demography on the factor content of international trade, as exemplified by offshore provision of back-office and other services previously provided closer to home. When considering the consequences of using international capital movements and especially migration to mediate international differences in demographic patterns, I broaden the focus from the usual economic variables, such as the size and distribution of incomes and employment, to consider explicit measures of well-being, which have been shown to depend on far more than economic variables. This has implications for a whole range of policies, both domestic and international, that might help deal with national and global demographic transitions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10945.

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Date of creation: Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as John F. Helliwell, 2004. "Demographic changes and international factor mobility," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 369-420.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10945
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  1. Devesh Kapur, 2001. "Diasporas and Technology Transfer," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 265-286.
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  4. Higgins, Matthew, 1998. "Demography, National Savings, and International Capital Flows," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 343-69, May.
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  7. John F. Helliwell, 2004. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 10896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Charles Engel & John H. Rogers, 1994. "How Wide is the Border?," NBER Working Papers 4829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Taylor, Alan M., 2002. "A century of current account dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 725-748, November.
  11. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J, 1997. "The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 170-80, March.
  12. French, Kenneth R & Poterba, James M, 1991. "Investor Diversification and International Equity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 222-26, May.
  13. Michael Dooley & Jeffrey Frankel & Donald J. Mathieson, 1987. "International Capital Mobility: What Do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 503-530, September.
  14. Hatton, Timothy J. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1998. "The Age of Mass Migration: Causes and Economic Impact," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195116519.
  15. Davis, Donald R. & David E. Weinstein & Scott C. Bradford & Kazushige Shimpo, 1997. "Using International and Japanese Regional Data to Determine When the Factor Abundance Theory of Trade Works," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 421-46, June.
  16. Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1991. "Capital Flows to the New World as an Intergenerational Transfer," NBER Historical Working Papers 0032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. BRYANT Ralph C. (translator: SHIMASAWA Manabu ), 2004. "DEMOGRAPHIC PRESSURES ON PUBLIC PENSION SYSTEMS AND GOVERNMENT BUDGETS IN OPEN ECONOMIES (in Japanese)," ESRI Discussion paper series 109, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  18. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  19. John F. Helliwell & Ross McKitrick, 1999. "Comparing Capital Mobility Across Provincial and National Borders," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 32(5), pages 1164-1173, November.
  20. Sinn, Stefan, 1992. "Saving-Investment Correlations and Capital Mobility: On the Evidence from Annual Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1162-70, September.
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