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Ageing, interest rates, and financial flows

  • Tuomas Saarenheimo

    (Bank of Finland)

Registered author(s):

    The median age of the global population is presently increasing by nearly three months every year. Over the next couple of decades, almost every country in the world is set to experience an unprecedented increase in the share of elderly population. This development has the potential to fundamentally affect the functioning of economic and financial systems globally. This study concentrates on the effects of ageing on the evolution of global interest rates and financial flows. The study uses a 73-cohort general equilibrium overlapping generations model of five major economic areas (USA, EU-15, Japan, China, and India). Utilising actual population data and UN population projections, the model yields predictions for major economic and financial variables up to 2050. The model predicts a decline in global equilibrium real interest rates over the next two decades, but the size of the decline depends crucially on the future evolution of public pension benefits. If the present generosity of pension systems is maintained – leading to a steep increase in the cost of the pension systems – the maximum decline of interest rates is projected to be about 70 basis points from present levels. If pension benefits are reduced to offset the increasing cost pressures, the decline in global equilibrium interest rates can be much larger, while increases in the retirement age work in the opposite direction. The results do not anticipate a ‘financial market meltdown’ – a collapse in asset prices associated with the retirement of the baby- boomers – predicted by some. On the contrary, bond prices should fare fairly well over the next three decades. The main reason for this is that increasing life expectancy at retirement creates a need for higher retirement saving – in the future, people will want to retire wealthier than they do today. This trend more than offsets the negative effect of the retirement of baby-boomers on asset demand.

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    File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/lab/papers/0508/0508015.pdf
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    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0508015.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: 31 Aug 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0508015
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 33. Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers 2/2005
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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    1. Axel Boersch-Supan & Florian Heiss & Alexander Ludwig & Joachim Winter, 2003. "Pension Reform, Capital Markets and the Rate of Return," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 151-181, 05.
    2. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
    3. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 19563, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    4. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
    5. Hans Fehr & Sabine Jokisch & Laurence Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Developed World's Demographic Transition - The Roles of Capital Flows, Immigration, and Policy," NBER Working Papers 10096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
    7. John Geanakoplos & Michael Magill & Martine Quinzii, 2002. "Demography and the Long-run Predictability of the Stock Market," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1380R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jul 2004.
    8. James M. Poterba, 2004. "The impact of population aging on financial markets," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Aug, pages 163-216.
    9. Miles, David K, 1997. "Modelling the Impact of Demographic Change Upon the Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1762, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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