nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒02‒03
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. How Are Employers Responding to an Aging Workforce? By Robert L. Clark; Beth M. Ritter
  2. The End of Economic Growth? Unintended Consequences of a Declining Population By Charles I. Jones
  3. The boomer penalty: excess mortality among baby boomers in Canada and the United States By Enrique Acosta; Alain Gagnon; Nadine Ouellette; Robert R. Bourbeau; Marilia Nepomuceno; Alyson A. van Raalte
  4. Socioeconomic Decline and Death: Midlife Impacts of Graduating in a Recession By Hannes Schwandt; Till M. von Wachter
  5. The Emergence of Procyclical Fertility: The Role of Gender Differences in Employment Risk By Sena Coskun; Husnu Dalgic

  1. By: Robert L. Clark; Beth M. Ritter
    Abstract: The American population is aging and changes in the population’s age structure are leading to an aging of the nation’s workforce. In addition, changes to age specific participation rates are exacerbating the aging of the national labor force. An important challenge for firms and organizations is how does workforce aging affect labor costs, productivity and the sustainability of the organization. This paper examines employer responses to workforce aging including changes retirement policies, modification in working conditions, the adoption of phased retirement plans, and reforming other employee benefits.
    JEL: J11 J14 J21 J26 J33
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: Charles I. Jones
    Abstract: In many models, economic growth is driven by people discovering new ideas. These models typically assume either a constant or a growing population. However, in high income countries today, fertility is already below its replacement rate: women are having fewer than two children on average. It is a distinct possibility — highlighted in the recent book, “Empty Planet” — that global population will decline rather than stabilize in the long run. What happens to economic growth when population growth turns negative?
    JEL: E0 J11 O4
    Date: 2020–01
  3. By: Enrique Acosta (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Alain Gagnon (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Nadine Ouellette; Robert R. Bourbeau; Marilia Nepomuceno (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Alyson A. van Raalte (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Studies suggest that, relative to adjacent cohorts, baby boomers in Canada and the United States have experienced a slowdown, or even a deterioration, in mortality improvements. These findings are counterintuitive and surprising since the unprecedented improvements in early-life conditions experienced by baby boomers should have led to declines in morbidity and mortality in later life, as was the case for earlier generations. The present study explores the mechanisms that could have produced this “excess” mortality among the baby boom cohorts in Canada and in three racial/ethnic groups in the United States. Using micro-level mortality data from vital statistics systems, we analyzed the contributions of the causes of death that are likely driving this cohort’s excess mortality, and their dynamics over time. The analyses were done using demographic decomposition, visual, and statistical methods. We found evidence of a higher susceptibility of the trailing edge boomers (those born around 1960) to behavioral causes of death: namely, mortality from drugs, alcohol, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, COPD, and suicide. Most of these causes contributed to the all-cause mortality disadvantage of baby boomers through sustained cohort effects that followed the cohorts over time. This finding calls into question the assumption that secular improvements in early life conditions lead to a monotonic decline in cohort mortality rates. Instead, there may be important disruptions in the continuous progress in health and mortality, and it is possible that the baby boom generation represents one such disruption. This insight calls for a rethinking of the mechanisms that drive current age-period-cohort mortality patterns. The mechanisms that can generate the observed cohort disadvantage of baby boomers – such as the higher levels of distress and frustration as well as the riskier attitudes toward drug use and sexual practices that are constituent of the boomer generation identity – are addressed and discussed.
    Keywords: America, avoidable mortality, cohort analysis, excess mortality, exogenous mortality, mortality trends
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2020
  4. By: Hannes Schwandt; Till M. von Wachter
    Abstract: This paper uses several large cross-sectional data sources and a new approach to estimate midlife effects of entering the labor market in a recession on mortality by cause and various measures of socioeconomic status. We find that cohorts coming of age during the deep recession of the early 1980s suffer increases in mortality that appear in their late 30s and further strengthen through age 50. We show these mortality impacts are driven by disease-related causes such as heart disease, lung cancer, and liver disease, as well as drug overdoses. At the same time, unlucky middle-aged labor market entrants earn less and work more while receiving less welfare support. They are also less likely to be married, more likely to be divorced, and experience higher rates of childlessness. Our findings demonstrate that tempo- rary disadvantages in the labor market during young adulthood can have substantial impacts on lifetime outcomes, can affect life and death in middle age, and go beyond the transitory initial career effects typically studied.
    JEL: E32 I10 J10
    Date: 2020–01
  5. By: Sena Coskun; Husnu Dalgic
    Abstract: Fertility in the US exhibits a procyclical pattern since 80s. We argue that gender differences in employment risk leads to procyclical fertility; men mostly work in volatile and procyclical industries whereas women are likely to work in relatively stable and countercyclical industries. Our quantitative framework features a general equlibrium OLG model with endogeneous fertility and human capital choice and it shows that current gender industry composition in the US data accounts for all of this procyclicality. Moreover, we argue that gender income ratio (female to male) is higher in bad times which tilts the quality-quantity trade-off towards quality.
    Keywords: fertility, industry cyclicality, industry gender segregation, gender income gap, quality-quantity trade-off
    JEL: E24 E32 J11 J13 J16 J21 J24
    Date: 2020–01

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