nep-age New Economics Papers
on Economics of Ageing
Issue of 2019‒06‒10
ten papers chosen by
Claudia Villosio
LABORatorio R. Revelli

  1. Females, the elderly, and also males: Demographic aging and macroeconomy in Japan By Sagiri Kitao; Minamo Mikoshiba; Hikaru Takeuchi
  2. Who is in favor of immigration By Epstein, Gil S.; Katav-Herz, Shirit
  3. Understanding the spatial disparities and vulnerability of population aging in China By Yang Cheng, Siyao Gao, Shuai Li, Yuchao Zhang and Mark Rosenberg
  4. Dimensions of inequality in Japan: Distributions of earnings, income and wealth between 1984 and 2014 By Sagiri Kitao; Tomoaki Yamada
  5. Self-reported symptoms of depression among Chinese rural-to-urban migrants and left-behind family members By Nikoloski, Zlatko; Zhang, Anwen; Hopkin, Gareth; Mossialos, Elias
  6. Are rising house prices really good for your brain? House value and cognitive functioning among older Europeans By Bénédicte Apouey; Isabelle Chort
  7. Do Benefit Cuts Encourage Public Employees to Leave? By Laura D. Quinby; Gal Wettstein
  8. Demographic change and climate change By Rauscher, Michael
  9. The effects of pension-related policies on household spending By Susana Párraga Rodríguez
  10. The making and breaking of trust in pension providers : An empirical study of pension participants By van Dalen, Harry; Henkens, Kene

  1. By: Sagiri Kitao; Minamo Mikoshiba; Hikaru Takeuchi
    Abstract: The speed and magnitude of ongoing demographic aging in Japan are unprecedented. A rapid decline in the labor force and a rising fiscal burden to finance social security expenditures could hamper growth over a prolonged period. We build a dynamic general equilibrium model populated by overlapping generations of males and females who differ in employment type and labor productivity as well as life expectancy. We study how changes in the labor market over the coming decades will affect the transition path of the economy and fiscal situation of Japan. We find that a rise in the labor supply of females and the elderly of both genders in an extensive margin and in labor productivity can significantly mitigate effects of demographic aging on the macroeconomy and reduce fiscal pressures, despite a decline in wage during the transition. We also quantify effects of alternative demographic scenarios and fiscal policies. The study suggests that a combination of policies that remove obstacles hindering labor supply and that enhance a more efficient allocation of male and female workers of all age groups will be critical to keeping government deficit under control and raising income across the nation.
    Keywords: Japanese Economy, Demographic Trends, Female and Elderly Labor Force Participation, Overlapping Generation Model.
    JEL: E62 J11 J21 H55
    Date: 2019–06
  2. By: Epstein, Gil S.; Katav-Herz, Shirit
    Abstract: Population ageing affects most countries, especially developed ones. The elderly have increased in number as a result of increased longevity and a parallel decline in fertility. This phenomenon is placing an increasing burden on the young to finance intergenerational transfers to the old, which is creating a threat to the stability of the pension system and the long-run viability of society as a whole. One possible solution is to permit more immigration, which will both increase the labor force and broaden the tax base. Increasing immigration has a variety of effects on the local population, which vary according to age and wealth. One of these is the threat to local social norms and culture since immigrants tend to maintain the culture of their country of origin. This effect increases with the number of immigrants and reduces the attractiveness of immigration as a solution to population ageing. This paper examines immigration as a solution to the problem of ageing population, while considering the implication of immigration on social norms.
    Keywords: Immigration,Social norms,Population ageing,Intergenerational transfers,Attitude toward immigrants
    JEL: J11 J15 J61
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Yang Cheng, Siyao Gao, Shuai Li, Yuchao Zhang and Mark Rosenberg
    Abstract: Understanding the regional pattern of population aging in China enables rational policy making to address the challenges of inequity in social welfare and care resources among the east–central–west regions and rural–urban areas of China. This study uses census data in 2000 and 2010, and aging population ratios, annual increase rates, and spatial autocorrelation analysis to examine spatial disparities in population aging in China. The results show that the population is more aged and aging more rapidly in rural areas than in urban areas. Spatial clusters of population aging expanded from the east coastal region in 2000, to inland provinces such as Sichuan and Chongqing in 2010. The vulnerable regions in terms of population aging, health status of the elderly population, and economic level at the prefectural level were also identified.
    Keywords: China, population aging, rural and urban areas, spatial disparities, vulnerable regions
    Date: 2019–01–22
  4. By: Sagiri Kitao; Tomoaki Yamada
    Abstract: Inequality has become a central policy issue across the world. We study trends of inequality in earnings, income and wealth across households in Japan, using the National Survey of Family Income and Expenditure (NSFIE) from 1984 to 2014. We focus on the transition of inequality unconditionally and conditionally across various dimensions of household heterogeneity such as age, cohort, employment and marital status of household heads, sources of income, family size, etc. Inequality in earnings, income and wealth all increased during the last three decades. Changes in earnings and income inequality were mostly driven by demographic shift in the population towards the elderly, who tend to have higher inequality. Wealth inequality rose not only in the aggregate but also among the young, and this is due to a major increase in the fraction of households who own zero or very low wealth across all age groups. Critical factors in understanding inequality trends in Japan that we identified are aging demographics, changes in typical household structure, and macroeconomic trends of the past decades including the financial bubble period and a decades-long slow-down thereafter.
    Keywords: Distributions of wealth, earnings and income, inequality, demographic aging, Japanese economy.
    JEL: D31 E21
    Date: 2019–06
  5. By: Nikoloski, Zlatko; Zhang, Anwen; Hopkin, Gareth; Mossialos, Elias
    Abstract: Importance: There were an estimated 247 million rural-to-urban migrant workers in China in 2016, yet at a national level, there is scant evidence on the association of migration with mental health among migrants and their left-behind family members. Objective: To examine the association of rural-to-urban migration with symptoms of depression among migrants and left-behind family members aged 45 years and older. Design, Setting, and Participants: Using representative cross-sectional data of 14 332 middle-aged and older adults from the 2015 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey, regression analyses were conducted to examine the association of depressive symptoms with rural-to-urban migration status in urban areas and the association of depressive symptoms with left-behind status in rural areas. The statistical analysis was performed from January to August 2018. Exposures: Migration status (defined as having a rural hukou [household registration record]) in urban areas and left-behind status (defined as having a spouse or child living in another area) in rural areas. Main Outcomes and Measures: Depressive symptoms measured on the 10-item Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D-10) scale. Results: A total of 14 332 middle-aged and elderly participants (mean [SD] age, 59.84 [9.51] years; 7394 [51.6%] women) were included, of whom 4404 (30.7%) lived in urban areas and 9928 (69.3%) lived in rural areas. In urban areas, 1607 participants (36.2%) were rural-to-urban migrants, and the remaining 2797 participants (72.8%) were local residents. In rural areas, 3405 participants (34.3%) were left-behind family members, and the remaining 6523 participants (65.7%) were not. Compared with urban residents, rural-to-urban migrants had higher CES-D-10 scores after adjustment for covariates (β = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.08-1.40; P = .03; standard errors clustered at the household level henceforth). Compared with intact-family rural residents, left-behind spouses had higher CES-D-10 scores after adjustment for covariates (β = 0.54; 95% CI, 0.05-1.03; P = .03). Conclusions and Relevance: Rural-to-urban migration in China was associated with poor mental health for migrants and their left-behind spouses. Short-term policies, such as building community social facilities, may prove effective, but long-term solutions should address issues related to economic and social exclusions and the lack of a social security system in rural China.
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2019–05–03
  6. By: Bénédicte Apouey (PSE - Paris School of Economics); Isabelle Chort (UPPA - Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour)
    Abstract: This study examines how house prices in uence cognitive functioning for individuals aged 50+ in Europe. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement, we compute the median house price for each region-year, employing individual self-reported house values. We allow housing market fluctuations to have different effects during episodes of price increases and decreases, and we study owners with a mortgage, owners without a mortgage, and tenants separately. House price booms do not systematically improve cognitive outcomes: for outright owners, rising prices have a negative impact on cognitive health. For richer households, this negative effect is driven by respondents with no second home, suggesting that high prices make second home ownership less affordable and reduces household residential mobility. Finally, house price decreases are associated with better cognitive health for mortgaged owners, but this beneficial effect is largely due to the burst of the house price bubble in Spain.
    Keywords: House prices,Wealth,Cognitive functioning,Health,Older Europeans,Europe,SHARE
    Date: 2018–06
  7. By: Laura D. Quinby; Gal Wettstein
    Abstract: A number of state and local pension systems have persistently low levels of funding. These poorly funded plans in places like Kentucky, Illinois, and New Jersey may eventually reduce benefits not only for new hires, but also for current employees. The question is: do cuts to pension benefits encourage a state’s public sector workers to leave for the private sector? This brief, based on a recent paper, evaluates a 2005 reform of the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island (ERSRI) that cut core benefits for state employees and teachers without raising salaries to compensate. It examines whether these benefit cuts for current employees encouraged them to separate from the government, investigates whether teachers (an important and often-studied group) reacted differently to cuts than other workers, and explores the possible consequences for public services. The discussion proceeds as follows. The first section outlines Rhode Island’s history of pension reforms and describes the 2005 legislation. The second section introduces the evaluation methodology and quantifies the effect of the 2005 reform on employee separation. The third section addresses the potential costs of an employee exodus. The final section concludes that benefit cuts encourage government workers to leave their jobs – particularly non-teachers who may have more options in the private sector – but that the size of the response is small relative to the budgetary savings from the reform. Nevertheless, government employers should consider the human resource cost of reduced compensation when analyzing potential pension reforms.
    Date: 2019–05
  8. By: Rauscher, Michael
    Abstract: The paper uses a continuous-time overlapping-generations model with endogenous growth and pollution accumulation over time to study the link between longevity and global warming. It is seen that increasing longevity accelerates climate change in a business-as-usual scenario without climate policy. If a binding emission target is set exogenously and implemented via a cap-and-trade system, the price of emission permits is increasing in longevity. Longevity has no effect on the optimal solution of the climate problem if perfect intergenerational transfers are feasible. If these transfers are absent, the impact of longevity is ambiguous.
    Date: 2019
  9. By: Susana Párraga Rodríguez (Banco de España)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the impact of pension-related policies on household spending. The identification strategy exploits the deviation in pensioner income and expenditure caused by the introduction of a new pension system during the 1980s and 1990s in Spain and constructs a new narrative series of legislated pension changes. I present a variety of estimates, some of them imply that increases in the average pension have a roughly one-for-one effect on pensioner spending. The strongest effects are on the pensioners with the highest levels of expenditure, income, and wealth. Estimates for different categories of expenditure indicate that benefit increases trigger these pensioners to spend more on durables. At the same time, pension-related policies targeted to pensioners with low income levels seem to affect the spending on non-durables and necessities such as food positively.
    Keywords: fiscal policy, narrative public pensions changes, household expenditure
    JEL: D12 H31 H55 N14
    Date: 2019–05
  10. By: van Dalen, Harry (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management); Henkens, Kene (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: Trust in pension institutions is pivotal in making pension decisions, like saving or enrolling in pension programs. But which traits of pension institutions matter in making or breaking trust in providers like pension funds, banks or insurance companies? This paper presents an empirical analysis of the underlying forces of trust in private pension providers in the Netherlands. Based on a large-scale survey among pension participants, we show that the perceived integrity, competence, stability and benevolence of pension providers matter in assessing their trustworthiness. First, pension funds are more trusted than banks or insurance companies, a difference that is primarily related to weights attached to perceived levels of integrity and stability. Second, higher educated participants have a significantly higher propensity to trust pension providers than lower educated. Third, transparency as perceived by participants plays virtually no role in establishing trust.
    Date: 2018

This nep-age issue is ©2019 by Claudia Villosio. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.