DP9390 Demographic Dividends Revisited

Author(s): Jeffrey G Williamson
Publication Date: March 2013
Keyword(s): Asia., demographic dividends, Demographic transitions, growth, inequality
JEL(s): J10, O11, O15, O40, O53
Programme Areas: Development Economics, Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=9390

This paper revisits demographic dividend issues after almost two decades of debate. In 1998, David Bloom and Jeffrey Williamson used a convergence model to estimate the impact of demographic-transition-driven age structure effects and calculated what the literature has come to call the demographic dividend. How do estimates based on these naïve convergence models compare with subsequent and competing OLG models? How much of the (first) demographic dividend is simply a labor participation rate effect, and how much a true growth effect? If there are growth effects, how much of this is based on accelerating human capital accumulation induced by demand side quality-quantity Becker trade-offs versus a co-movement between demographic transitions and exogenous schooling supply side revolutions? Emigration has passed through life cycles much like the demographic transition, and with similar (but lagged) timing. Has emigration actually been driven in part by demography? Has emigration wasted some of the demographic dividend by brain drain? Have within-country rural-urban migrations been driven in part by demographic transitions with different spatial timing? Finally, what has been the lifetime ? not just annual -- income inequality impact of demographic transitions?