ESRI Studies Series on Ageing
Edited by Paolo Onofri
Chapter 3: Effects of information technology and ageing workforce on labor demand and technological progress in Japanese industries: 1980Â…1998*
3. Eﬀects of information technology and ageing workforce on labor demand and technological progress in Japanese industries: 1980–1998* Futoshi Kurokawa, Kazunori Minetaki, Kiyohiko G. Nishimura and Masato Shirai 1. INTRODUCTION The Japanese economy has been in the midst of a fundamental change driven by two powerful forces: the ageing population and the rapid progress in information and communication technology (ICT). The macroeconomic impact of the ageing population on the future of the Japanese economy has attracted much attention, particularly with respect to sustainable pension and health-care systems and the optimal policy mix of debts and taxes to ﬁnance government expenditure. Advances in ICT have also been a hot issue, both politically and economically, but most studies have concentrated on the microeconomic impacts of ICT on Japanese ﬁrms. These two forces may interact in very important ways: for example, rapid advances in ICT may lead to drastic changes in the structure of jobs and the workplace, which may alter the impacts of the ageing workforce. Few studies have been conducted on these interrelationships and their joint impacts on economic growth.1 The purpose of this chapter is to ﬁll this gap. Casual observation suggests that workers and ﬁrms can beneﬁt from ICT. The automobile industry has succeeded in substantially shortening the development period of automobiles by relying on computer-aided design (CAD) software. In nonmanufacturing industries, video-scanned data or so-called point-of-sale (POS) systems in the retail sector and automatic teller machines (ATMs) in the banking and securities sectors have decreased...
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