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Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us Out to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the U.S., EU, Japan, and China

  • Hans Fehr
  • Sabine Jokisch
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

This paper develops a dynamic, life-cycle, general equilibrium model to study the interdependent demographic, fiscal, and economic transition paths of China, Japan, the U.S., and the EU. Each of these countries/regions is entering a period of rapid and significant aging requiring major fiscal adjustments. In previous studies that excluded China we predicted that tax hikes needed to pay benefits along the developed world's demographic transition would lead to capital shortage, reducing real wages per unit of human capital. Adding China to the model dramatically alters this prediction. Even though China is aging rapidly, its saving behavior, growth rate, and fiscal policies are very different from those of developed countries. If this continues to be the case, the model's long run looks much brighter. China eventually becomes the world's saver and, thereby, the developed world's savoir with respect to its long-run supply of capital and long-run general equilibrium prospects. And, rather than seeing the real wage per unit of human capital fall, the West and Japan see it rise by one fifth by 2030 and by three fifths by 2100. These wage increases are over and above those associated with technical progress.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11668.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Publication status: published as Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the United States, the European Union, Japan, and China , Hans Fehr, Sabine Jokisch, Laurence J. Kotlikoff. in Fiscal Policy and Management in East Asia, NBER-EASE, Volume 16 , Ito and Rose. 2007
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11668
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  1. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2004. "The Role of Immigration in Dealing with the Developed World's Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 10512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Developed World's Demographic Transition - The Roles of Capital Flows, Immigration, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 10096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "Projected U.S. demographics and social security," Working Paper Series WP-98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
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  19. Hugett, M. & Ventura, G., 1997. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9710, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  20. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  21. Fehr, Hans & Halder, Gitte & Jokisch, Sabine & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2003. "A simulation model for the demographic transition in the OECD: Data requirements, model structure and calibration," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 45, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
  22. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1979. "Social Security and Equilibrium Capital Intensity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 233-53, May.
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  26. Kenneth A. Lewis & Laurence S. Seidman, 2002. "Funding Social Security: The Transition in a Life-Cycle Growth Model," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 159-180, Spring.
  27. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
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