nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2020‒03‒23
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas
Universitat Pompeu Fabra

  1. The Future of Work: Challenges for Job Creation Due to Global Demographic Change and Automation By Abeliansky, Ana; Algur, Eda; Bloom, David E.; Prettner, Klaus
  2. Spurring Economic Growth through Human Development: Research Results and Guidance for Policymakers By Bloom, David E.; Khoury, Alexander; Kufenko, Vadim; Prettner, Klaus
  3. Can Low Retirement Savings Be Rationalized? By Jason S. Scott; John B. Shoven; Sita N. Slavov; John G. Watson
  4. Growth Recurring in Preindustrial Spain: Half a Millennium Perspective By Leandro Prados de la Escosura; Carlos Álvarez-Nogal; Carlos Santiago-Caballero
  5. Analyzing Female Employment Trends in South Asia By Najeeb, Fatima; Morales, Matias; Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys

  1. By: Abeliansky, Ana (University of Göttingen); Algur, Eda (Harvard School of Public Health); Bloom, David E. (Harvard University); Prettner, Klaus (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: We explore future job creation needs under conditions of demographic, economic, and technological change. First, we estimate the implications for job creation in 2020–2030 of population growth, changes in labor force participation, and the achievement of plausible target unemployment rates, disaggregated by age and gender. Second, we analyze the job creation needs differentiated by country income group. Finally, we examine how accelerated automation could affect job creation needs over the coming decades. Overall, shifting demographics, changing labor force participation rates, reductions in unemployment to the target levels of 8 percent for youth and 4 percent for adults, and automation combine to require the creation of approximately 340 million jobs in 2020–2030.
    Keywords: demography, labor, unemployment
    JEL: J11 J21 J68 O30
    Date: 2020–02
  2. By: Bloom, David E. (Harvard University); Khoury, Alexander (Harvard School of Public Health); Kufenko, Vadim (University of Hohenheim); Prettner, Klaus (University of Hohenheim)
    Abstract: Education, general health, and reproductive health are key indicators of human development. Investments in these domains can also promote economic growth. This paper argues for the importance of human development related investments based on i) a theoretical economic growth model with poverty traps, ii) a literature review of evidence that different human development related investments can promote growth, and iii) own empirical analyses that aim at estimating the relative contribution of different human development indicators to economic growth across heterogeneous growth regimes. Our results suggest the following associations: (i) a one-child decrease in the total fertility rate corresponds to a 2 percentage point (pp) increase in annual per capita GDP growth in the short run (5 years) and 0.5 pp higher annual growth in the mid to long run (35 years), (ii) a 10% increase in life expectancy at birth corresponds to a 1 pp increase in annual GDP per capita growth in the short run and 0.4 pp higher growth in the mid to long run, and (iii) a one-year increase in average educational attainment corresponds to a 0.7 pp increase in annual growth in the short run and 0.3 pp higher growth in the mid to long run. By contrast, infrastructure proxies are not significantly associated with subsequent growth in any of the models estimated.
    Keywords: human development, economic development
    JEL: I15 I25 J11 O15 O20
    Date: 2020–02
  3. By: Jason S. Scott; John B. Shoven; Sita N. Slavov; John G. Watson
    Abstract: Simple presentations of the life cycle model often suggest a constant level of real consumption in retirement. Similarly, financial planners commonly suggest that people save for retirement in such a way as to enable them to maintain a level retirement standard of living equal to their standard of living while working. However, constant consumption with age is only optimal under the precise and unlikely condition that the subjective rate of time preference is equal to the real interest rate. Most people exhibit a positive rate of pure time preference and additionally discount the future by both mortality and morbidity risks. In comparison, the real interest rate is roughly zero percent and the term structure of interest rates suggests that this condition is likely to persist. These considerations suggest that optimal consumption in the life cycle model declines with age. This finding has major implications for optimal retirement saving. For instance, we find that for many, perhaps most, people in the bottom half of the lifetime earnings distribution, it is optimal to spend out their retirement wealth well before death and to live on Social Security alone after that. Very low earners may find it optimal to not engage in retirement saving at all.
    JEL: D14 H55 J26
    Date: 2020–02
  4. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura (Universidad Carlos III and CEPR); Carlos Álvarez-Nogal (Universidad Carlos III); Carlos Santiago-Caballero (Universidad Carlos III)
    Abstract: Research in economic history has lately challenged the Malthusian depiction of preindustrial European economies, highlighting ‘efflorescences’, ‘Smithian’ and ‘growth recurring’ episodes. Do these defining concepts apply to preindustrial Spain? On the basis of new yearly estimates of output and population for nearly 600 years we show that preindustrial Spain was far from stagnant and phases of per capita growth and shrinkage alternated. Population and output per head evolved along supporting the hypothesis of a frontier economy. After a long phase of sustained and egalitarian growth, a collapse in the 1570s opened a new era of sluggish growth and high inequality. The unintended consequences of imperial ambitions in Europe on economic activity, rather than Malthusian forces, help to explain it.
    Keywords: Preindustrial Spain, Frontier economy, Black Death, Malthusian, Growth recurring
    JEL: E10 N13 O10 O47
    Date: 2020–03
  5. By: Najeeb, Fatima; Morales, Matias (World Bank); Lopez-Acevedo, Gladys (World Bank)
    Abstract: This paper studies employment patterns and trends in South Asia to shed light on determinants of extremely low female employment rates in the region. After a comprehensive literature review, we use employment data from about one hundred censuses and surveys from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka to compare employment trends across countries over time. We work through data inconsistencies to standardize definitions of variables to compare demographic and labor market determinants: age, sector, contract type, location, and education. We find that (i) overall since 2001, women's employment participation across South Asian countries has been low and broadly unchanged; (ii) the gender employment gap emerges more clearly in middle age brackets; (iii) rural female employment is higher than urban; (iv) agriculture is the economic sector accounting for the greatest share of female employment, although this is slowly changing in some countries, and; (v) women with mid-level education tend to have lower employment rates than those with both lower and higher education.
    Keywords: female labor force participation, South Asia
    JEL: J21 O53
    Date: 2020–02

This nep-dem issue is ©2020 by Héctor Pifarré i Arolas. 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.