Edited by Donghyun Park, Sang-Hyop Lee and Andrew Mason
Chapter 2: Population, wealth, and economicgrowth in Asia and the Pacific
The Asia and Pacific region is extraordinarily diverse, but all of the economies are experiencing a demographic transition with important common features related to population size, growth, and age structure. In many of them, demographic change favors economic growth in both aggregate and per capita terms because working-age populations are growing more rapidly than dependent populations and are creating a demographic dividend. In a few economies in the region and in many more in the near future, however, the obviously favorable demographics are coming to an end. They will experience slower growth and then declines in their working-age populations and substantial increases in their old-age populations. We explored how these demographic changes are likely to influence economic growth and other features of Asia and the Pacific economies. Several key findings emerged. Many Asia and the Pacific countries including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and the Philippines will continue to experience a demographic dividend as their working-age populations grow relative to their dependent populations. Favorable conditions should persist for at least the next 15 years and, in most cases, for much longer. The magnitude of the demographic dividend depends on age patterns of labor income and consumption. For most countries, estimates of these patterns are not available, but based on the eight Asia and the Pacific economies for which age profiles have been constructed, a substantial demographic dividend can be expected. Over time, the populations of Asia and the Pacific will become increasingly concentrated at older ages where in all cases labor income is quite modest. In part this reflects low levels of employment at older ages, but it also reflects low wages and productivity for older adults who are working.
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