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Secular Stagnation? The Effect of Aging on Economic Growth in the Age of Automation

Listed author(s):
  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Pascual Restrepo

Several recent theories emphasize the negative effects of an aging population on economic growth, either because of the lower labor force participation and productivity of older workers or because aging will create an excess of savings over desired investment, leading to secular stagnation. We show that there is no such negative relationship in the data. If anything, countries experiencing more rapid aging have grown more in recent decades. We suggest that this counterintuitive finding might reflect the more rapid adoption of automation technologies in countries undergoing more pronounced demographic changes, and provide evidence and theoretical underpinnings for this argument.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23077.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23077.

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Date of creation: Jan 2017
Publication status: published as Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2017. "Secular Stagnation? The Effect of Aging on Economic Growth in the Age of Automation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 174-179, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23077
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  1. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen Mullen & David Powell, 2014. "The Effect of Population Aging on Economic Growth," Discussion Papers 14-012, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. Robert J. Gordon, 2016. "Perspectives on The Rise and Fall of American Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 72-76, May.
  3. Thomas Lindh & Bo Malmberg, 1999. "Age structure effects and growth in the OECD, 1950-1990," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 431-449.
  4. James Feyrer, 2007. "Demographics and Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 100-109, February.
  5. Maestas, Nicole & Mullen, Kathleen J. & Powell, David, 2016. "The Effect of Population Aging on Economic Growth, the Labor Force and Productivity," Working Papers 1063-1, RAND Corporation.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Pascual Restrepo, 2016. "The Race Between Machine and Man: Implications of Technology for Growth, Factor Shares and Employment," NBER Working Papers 22252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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