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Demography and Growth: A Unified Treatment of Overlapping Generations

  • Neil Bruce
  • Stephen J. Turnovsky

We construct a unified overlapping-generations (OLG) framework of equilibrium growth that includes the Blanchard �perpetual youth� model, the Samuelson model, and the infinitely-lived representative agent growth model as limit specifications of a �realistic�, two-parameter survivorship function. We analyze how demographic conditions affect the equilibrium growth and savings rates in an economy by computing equilibrium rates under different specifications of the survivorship function. Differences in population growth rates, life-expectancies, retirement durations, and the degree of concavity of the survivorship function are found to have significant impacts on equilibrium growth rates. The observed effects are consistent with some cross-country correlations between demographic conditions and growth rates. We also identify a potential �Malthusian growth trap� in economies where life expectancy is short, fertility rates are high, and households work most of their lives�conditions often found in less developed economies.

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Paper provided by University of Washington, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number UWEC-2009-21-R.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision: Jun 2011
Handle: RePEc:udb:wpaper:uwec-2009-21-r
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  1. Burke, Jonathan L., 1996. "Equilibrium for Overlapping Generations in Continuous Time," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 364-390, August.
  2. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bond, Eric W. & Wang, Ping & Yip, Chong K., 1996. "A General Two-Sector Model of Endogenous Growth with Human and Physical Capital: Balanced Growth and Transitional Dynamics," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 149-173, January.
  4. Raouf Boucekkine & David de la Croix & Omar Licandro, . "vintage human capital, demographic trends and endogenous growth," Working Papers 2000-02, FEDEA.
  5. Antoine Bommier & Ronald D. Lee, 2003. "Overlapping generations models with realistic demography," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 135-160, 02.
  6. An, Chong-Bum & Jeon, Seung-Hoon, 2006. "Demographic change and economic growth: An inverted-U shape relationship," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(3), pages 447-454, September.
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