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Population Aging, Human Capital Accumulation, and Productivity Growth

Population Research Laboratory, University of Alberta
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  • Economics


Northcott Review Final clean Population Aging, Human Capital Accumulation, and Productivity Growth Edited by Alexia Prskawetz, David E. Bloom, and Wolfgang Lutz Published by the Population Council, New York, NY, as a Supplement to Volume 34 (2008) Population and Development Review ISBN: 978-0-87834-116-0 Price: $25.00, 326 pages. Herbert C. Northcott Department of Sociology University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada E-mail: [email protected] This collection of 12 papers along with an introduction by the editors examines the impact of population aging (the increase in the mean age of the population together with the increase in the percentage of the population which is elderly) on economic productivity. These 12 papers were originally presented at a symposium in December 2004 co-sponsored by the European Union and the Vienna Institute of Demography and were published in March of 2008 as a Supplement to Volume 34 of the Population and Development Review. The demographic transition, a function of declining fertility and increasing life expectancy, has proceeded at different rates and to different degrees in the various countries of the world. Initially, the demographic transition tends to be accompanied by high rates of population growth which are subsequently followed by declining growth rates coupled with population aging. Economists have been interested in the economic consequences of these demographic shifts from high to low rates of population growth and from a preponderantly youthful population to a population with a higher median age and higher percentages of older people. When the labour force is growing faster than the total population, as is the case early in the demographic transition or in the case of a youthful “baby boom”, a demographic dividend tends to be realized depending on a country’s social policies, culture, and economic environment. With population aging, this demographic

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