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The Dynamics of the Age Structure, Dependency, and Consumption

  • Heinrich Hock
  • David N. Weil

We examine the dynamic interaction of the population age structure, economic dependency, and fertility, paying particular attention to the role of intergenerational transfers. In the short run, a reduction in fertility produces a %u201Cdemographic dividend%u201D that allows for higher consumption. In the long run, however, higher old-age dependency can more than offset this effect. To analyze these dynamics we develop a highly tractable continuous-time overlapping generations model in which population is divided into three groups (young, working age, and old) and transitions between groups take place in a probabilistic fashion. We show that most highly developed countries have fertility below the rate that maximizes steady state consumption. Further, the dependency-minimizing response to increased longevity is to raise fertility. In the face of the high taxes required to support transfers to a growing aged population, we demonstrate that the actual response of fertility will likely be exactly the opposite, leading to increased population aging.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12140.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Publication status: published as Heinrich Hock & David Weil, 2012. "On the dynamics of the age structure, dependency, and consumption," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 1019-1043, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12140
Note: AG PE
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  8. repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Andrew Mason & Ronald Lee & An-Chi Tung & Mun-Sim Lai & Tim Miller, 2009. "Population Aging and Intergenerational Transfers: Introducing Age into National Accounts," NBER Chapters, in: Developments in the Economics of Aging, pages 89-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dominik Grafenhofer & Christian Jaag & Christian Keuschnigg & Mirela Keuschnigg, 2007. "Economic Aging and Demographic Change," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-35, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
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  20. Maja B. Micevska & Paul J. Zak, 2002. "What Accounts for the Emergence of Malthusian Fertility in Transition Economies?," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-01, Claremont Colleges.
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