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Ageing and Welfare-State Policy: Macroeconomic Perspective


  • Assaf Razin
  • Alexander Horst Schwemmer


It has been well recognized that population ageing could generate structural changes centered around the dwindling labor force, on one hand, and the expanding dependency on the generosity of the welfare state, on the other hand. Ageing-related welfare state policy entails both fiscal issues and migration issues. The paper employs a general-equilibrium model with a policy-making focus, to help understand the mechanism governing the provision of social benefits, labor income taxation, capital income taxation, migration curbs on low skilled and high skilled, driven by the ageing of the population. Greater generosity of the welfare state comes together with policy-- incentive compatible with the interests of the majority voters-- of a more liberal migration policy. Effects of ageing on the tax and benefit sides of the welfare state depends on the size of dependents in the population and on whether the country is a capital importer (in which case the capital tax burden is shared with foreigners) or a capital exporter (in which case the age-related wage increase skews taxation towards labor income). Low ageing evolution correlates with a relatively labor-abundant country (low retirement) turns into labor-scarce country (high retirement). Parallel to the evolution of the labor force, a capital-importer country (high rate of return) becomes capital-exporter (low rate of return). Greater ageing-related demand for social benefits is balanced against the rising cost of labor income taxation, and capital income taxation.

Suggested Citation

  • Assaf Razin & Alexander Horst Schwemmer, 2022. "Ageing and Welfare-State Policy: Macroeconomic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 29700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:29700
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    JEL classification:

    • F2 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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