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Generational Conflict, Human Capital Accumulation, and Economic Growth

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  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Mary E. Lovely
  • Mehmet S. Tosun

Abstract

Worldwide, dependency ratios are forecast to increase dramatically in the next 50 years. A great deal of attention has been devoted to understanding the changes in fiscal policies that must' take place to accommodate these changes. In contrast, less effort has been concentrated on studying the fiscal shifts that will endogenously result from demographic pressures. An example of particular interest is the degree to which a more elderly population will support public spending for education. We use an overlapping-generations model to investigate the effect of this demographic transition on the endogenous determination of public spending for education. A demographic transition alters the identity of the median voter, leading to a preference for less education spending. If the public sector is inefficiently small, demographic transition exacerbates the underprovision of human capital. Alternatively, such a shift may trim an inefficiently large government, reduce tax rates and raise capital per worker enough to raise education spending. Thus, there is no automatic link between demographic transition and reduced support for those programs whose benefits are concentrated among the young.

Suggested Citation

  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mary E. Lovely & Mehmet S. Tosun, 2000. "Generational Conflict, Human Capital Accumulation, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 7762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7762
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    Cited by:

    1. Mehmet Serkan Tosun, 2000. "Worldwide Population Aging: Endogenous Policy Formation and Capital Market Transmissions in the Presence of Symmetric Demographic Shocks," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 27, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    2. Radhika Lahiri & Elisabetta Magnani, 2008. "On inequality and the allocation of public spending," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 5(9), pages 1-8.
    3. Panu Poutvaara, 2001. "On the Political Economy of Social Security and Public Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 424, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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