nep-dem New Economics Papers
on Demographic Economics
Issue of 2023‒09‒25
five papers chosen by
Héctor Pifarré i Arolas, University of Wisconsin

  1. Population Aging and Economic Growth: From Demographic Dividend to Demographic Drag? By Rainer Kotschy; David E. Bloom; Rainer Franz Kotschy
  2. How Families Matter for Understanding Economic Inequality By Cezar Santos; Michèle Tertilt
  3. Demography and age heaping: solving Ireland’s post-famine digit preference puzzle By Eoin McLaughlin; Christopher L. Colvin; Stuart Henderson
  4. Do Replications Make a Difference? By Tom Coupé; W. Robert Reed
  5. Is it time to reboot welfare economics? Overview By Coyle, Diane; Fabian, Mark; Beinhocker, Eric; Besley, Timothy; Stevens, Margaret

  1. By: Rainer Kotschy; David E. Bloom; Rainer Franz Kotschy
    Abstract: This paper examines the extent to which changes in working-age shares associated with population aging might slow economic growth in upcoming years. We first analyze the economic effects of changing working-age shares in a standard empirical growth model using country panel data from 1950–2015. We then juxtapose the estimates with predicted shifts in population age structure to project economic growth in 2020–2050. Our results indicate that population aging will slow economic growth throughout much of the world. Expansions of labor supply due to improvements in functional capacity among older people can cushion much of this demographic drag.
    Keywords: population health, life expectancy, prospective aging, labor supply, economic development
    JEL: J11 O11 O47
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Cezar Santos; Michèle Tertilt
    Abstract: In this paper we discuss the importance of families for understanding economic inequality. Family structure can in principle be an amplifier or mitigator of economic inequality. We describe three channels on how families shape economic inequality. First, how people match to form families matters for inequality across families. Second, parental investments in children can amplify existing inequalities across generations. Third, inequality can exist even within families and the economic environment can shape inequality in consumption and leisure between spouses. In this survey we describe these channels and discuss the related literature.
    Keywords: families, inequality, marriage, children
    JEL: D13 J12 J13 J16
    Date: 2023–08
  3. By: Eoin McLaughlin (University College Cork and Heriot-Watt University); Christopher L. Colvin (Queen's University Belfast); Stuart Henderson (Ulster University)
    Abstract: The quality of age reporting in Ireland worsened in the years after the Great Irish Famine (1845–1852), even as other measures of educational attainment improved. We show how demography partly accounts for this seemingly conflicting pattern. Specifically, we argue that a greater propensity to emigrate typified the youngest segment (23–32- year-olds) used in conventional indices of digit preference. Quantification of age heaping must therefore be interpreted in light of an older underlying population which is more likely to heap. We propose how age heaping indices can adjust for such demographic change by introducing age standardisation.
    Keywords: age heaping, human capital, demography
    JEL: N33 J10
    Date: 2022–12
  4. By: Tom Coupé (University of Canterbury); W. Robert Reed (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: This study examines the effect of negative replications on the citation rates of replicated studies. It makes three contributions. First, we explain why previous research has not adequately addressed this subject. Second, we develop a matched difference-in-difference (DID) procedure that does not assume parallel trends (PT). Previous research has shown that studies that fail to replicate have different trends prior to replication than studies that successfully replicate. Given this difference, imposing the assumption of PT biases estimation of citation effects. Our DID procedure avoids this bias. Lastly, we study a set of 204 replicated studies and investigate whether there is a citation penalty associated with negative replications. Replicated studies are matched with non-replicated studies, with the matched controls being used to “predict” the counterfactual citation performance of replicated studies. Our preferred estimates indicate that studies that fail to replicate receive more citations than studies that have positive or mixed replications. Our less preferred estimates, based on looser matching criteria, find evidence of a citation penalty for negative replications, but the estimated effects are small and statistically insignificant. We conclude that replications have not been correcting the scientific record in the manner that proponents might have hoped.
    Keywords: Replications, Citations, Matching, Meta-science, Self-correcting science
    JEL: A11 A14 B41 C18
    Date: 2023–08–01
  5. By: Coyle, Diane; Fabian, Mark; Beinhocker, Eric; Besley, Timothy; Stevens, Margaret
    Abstract: The contributions of economists have long included both positive explanations of how economic systems work and normative recommendations for how they could and should work better. In recent decades, economics has taken a strong empirical turn as well as having a greater appreciation of the importance of the complexities of real-world human behaviour, institutions, the strengths and failures of markets, and interlinkages with other systems, including politics, technology, culture and the environment. This shift has also brought greater relevance and pragmatism to normative economics. While this shift towards evidence and pragmatism has been welcome, it does not in itself answer the core question of what exactly constitutes ‘better’, and for whom, and how to manage inevitable conflicts and trade-offs in society. These have long been the core concerns of welfare economics. Yet, in the 1980s and 1990s, debates on welfare economics seemed to have become marginalised. The articles in this Fiscal Studies symposium engage with the question of how to revive normative questions as a central issue in economic scholarship.
    Keywords: economic welfare; normative; positive; policy
    JEL: I30 I32
    Date: 2023–08–25

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