IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Is Gerontocracy Harmful for Growth? A Comparative Study of Seven European Countries



We study the relationship between gerontocracy and aggregate economic performance in a simple model where growth is driven by human capital accumulation and productive government spending. We show that less patient lites display the tendency to underinvest in public education and productive government services, and thus are harmful for growth. The damage caused by gerontocracy is mainly due to the lack of long-term delayed return on investments, originated by the lower subjective discount factor. An empirical analysis using public investment in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is carried out to test theoretical predictions across different countries and different economic sectors. The econometric results confirm our main hypotheses.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Atella & Lorenzo Carbonari, 2013. "Is Gerontocracy Harmful for Growth? A Comparative Study of Seven European Countries," CEIS Research Paper 263, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 11 May 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:263

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Main text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
    2. Matthias Messner & Mattias K. Polborn, 2004. "Voting on Majority Rules," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 115-132.
    3. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Productive government expenditures and long-run growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 183-204, January.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    5. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni & Giovanni Prarolo, 2009. "Political Persistence, Connections and Economic Growth," Working Papers 2009.107, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
    7. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2009. "Unemployment, institutions, and reform complementarities: re-assessing the aggregate evidence for OECD countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 40-59, Spring.
    8. Boucekkine, Raouf & de la Croix, David & Licandro, Omar, 2002. "Vintage Human Capital, Demographic Trends, and Endogenous Growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(2), pages 340-375, June.
    9. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Maria E. Muniagurría, 1993. "Policy variability and economic growth," Economics Working Papers 30, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    10. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Per Krusell, 1999. "On the Size of U.S. Government: Political Economy in the Neoclassical Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1156-1181, December.
    11. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & María E. Muniagurria, 1996. "Policy Variability and Economic Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(4), pages 611-625.
    12. Nigar Hashimzade & George Davis, 2006. "Human capital and growth under political uncertainty," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(1), pages 1-7.
    13. Francesco Daveri & Mika Maliranta, 2007. "Age, seniority and labour costs: lessons from the Finnish IT revolution," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 117-175, January.
    14. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2006:i:1:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Christian Dahl & Hans Kongsted & Anders Sørensen, 2011. "ICT and productivity growth in the 1990s: panel data evidence on Europe," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 141-164, February.
    16. Olivier Blanchard, 2004. "The Economic Future of Europe," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 3-26, Fall.
    17. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    18. Bart van Ark & Mary O'Mahoney & Marcel P. Timmer, 2008. "The Productivity Gap between Europe and the United States: Trends and Causes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 25-44, Winter.
    19. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-1155, December.
    20. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1997. "Politico-economic equilibrium and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 243-272, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Vincenzo Atella & Lorenzo Carbonari & Paola Samà, 2017. "Hours Worked in Selected OECD Countries: an Empirical Assessment," CEIS Research Paper 412, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 21 Jul 2017.

    More about this item


    Gerontocracy; Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity; Education; ICT.;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:263. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Barbara Piazzi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.