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The Effects of Population Structure on Employment and Productivity

  • Hervé Boulhol

The composition of the working-age population can influence aggregate employment and average productivity because both employment rates and productivity levels vary across population groups. This paper assesses the quantitative importance of the working-age population broken down by age, gender and education in explaining differences in employment and productivity levels across countries. Differences in population structure are found to contribute importantly to variations in both labour utilisation and productivity performances. Combining these effects in a mechanical way, differences in the composition of the working-age population account for around a third of the gap in GDP per capita for Europe (EU15) vis-à-vis the United States, mainly due to differences in educational attainment. Les effets de la structure de la population sur l'emploi et la productivité La composition de la population d’âge actif peut influer sur le niveau global de l’emploi et sur la productivité moyenne car aussi bien les taux d’emploi que les niveaux de la productivité varient selon les groupes de population. Cette étude a pour objectif d’évaluer dans quelle mesure la structure de la population d’âge actif, en fonction de l’âge, du sexe et du niveau d’éducation, peut expliquer les différences de niveau d’emploi et de productivité entre pays. Les différences dans la structure de la population contribuent pour beaucoup aux écarts entre pays tant des niveaux d’utilisation de la main d’oeuvre que de la productivité. En combinant ces effets mécaniques, on observe que les différences dans la composition de la population d’âge actif expliquent pour environ un tiers l’écart de PIB par habitant de l’Europe (UE15) par rapport aux États-Unis, principalement du fait des différences de niveau d’éducation.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 684.

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Date of creation: 17 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:684-en
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