Social Science > Demography

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Cian Ruane
After impressive growth in the 2000s, China's productivity has more recently stagnated. We use firm-level data to analyze productivity and firm dynamism trends from 2003 to 2018. We document six facts that together show a decline in China’s business dynamism. We show that (i) the revenue share of young firms has declined, (ii) the life-cycle growth of young firms relative to older incumbents has slowed, (iii) weaker life-cycle growth can be explained by slower productivity growth and weaker investment in intangibles, (iv) younger and smaller firms are more capital constrained than their older and larger counterparts, (v) the responsiveness of capital growth to the marginal product of capital has declined, and (vi) large productivity gaps between SOEs and private firms persist. We find that business dynamism is weaker in provinces where SOEs account for a larger share of the capital stock. Our results suggest that declining private business dynamism is an important factor in explaining China's sluggish TFP growth and that SOE reform could boost productivity growth indirectly by stimulating business dynamism.
Cristina Batog, Ernesto Crivelli, Ms. Anna Ilyina, Zoltan Jakab, Mr. Jaewoo Lee, Anvar Musayev, Iva Petrova, Mr. Alasdair Scott, Ms. Anna Shabunina, Andreas Tudyka, Xin Cindy Xu, and Ruifeng Zhang
The populations of Central and Eastern European (CESEE) countries—with the exception of Turkey—are expected to decrease significantly over the next 30 years, driven by low or negative net birth rates and outward migration. These changes will have significant implications for growth, living standards and fiscal sustainability.
Mr. Tidiane Kinda
The use of e-commerce around the world has accelerated in recent years, with Asia, led by China, spearheading the rise. Using cross-country enterprise survey data, this paper shows that firms engaged in e-commerce have higher productivity and generate a larger share of their revenues from exports than other firms. This is particularly true in Asia, where firms have 30 percent higher productivity and generate about 50 percent more of their revenues from exports. The results presented in this paper are robust to the use of instrumental variables, which highlight possible larger effects of e-commerce on Asian productivity and exports when essential elements are in place for its effective use, such as reliable electricity, telecommunication, and transport infrastructure. Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce in recent years, gaps persist in digital infrastructure and legislation, preventing many Asian countries from fully reaping the potential benefits of e-commerce.
Yang Yang
This paper examines the impact of highway expansion on aggregate productivity growth and sectoral reallocation between cities in China. To do so, I construct a unique dataset of bilateral transportation costs between Chinese cities, digitized highway network maps, and firm-level census. I first derive and estimate a market access measure that summarizes all direct and indirect impact of trade costs on city productivity. I then construct an instrumental variable to examine the causal impact of highways on economic outcomes and the underlying channels. The results suggest that highways promoted aggregate productivity growth by facilitating firm entry, exit and reallocation. I also find evidence that the national highway system led to a sectoral reallocation between cities in China.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This paper highlights the fact that to address the challenge of declining working age population, policies should not only aim to support fertility, but also to increase labor force participation rate, to improve labor allocation across sectors and to encourage net immigration. However, with some recent measures going in the opposite direction, even such mitigating policies may not fully offset the demographic headwinds. Poland faces profound demographic changes. The decline of fertility rate and growing life expectancy, mostly driven by longevity of older cohorts, will significantly change the demographic landscape. Demographics may soon pose a barrier for growth. The historical expansion of working age population appears to have been only partly utilized to boost potential growth, with increased unemployment and declined labor force participation rates dampening potential gains. Net migration was also a drag on the labor supply in the past, but this has changed recently. In addition to a steady outflow of permanent migrants, there was a sharp pickup in temporary migration after EU accession.
Mr. Ranil M Salgado


The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the world leader in growth, and recent data point to a pickup in momentum. We expect the region to expand by 5.5 percent in 2017, up from 5.3 percent in 2016. Accommodative policies will underpin domestic demand, offsetting tighter global financial conditions. However, the risks to the outlook, on balance, are slanted to the downside. A possible shift toward protectionism in major trading partners could suppress Asia’s trade, while the continued tightening of global financial conditions and economic uncertainty could trigger capital flow volatility. A bumpier-than-expected transition in China would also have large negative spillovers to the region. Beyond the short term, many parts of Asia face secular headwinds from population aging and slow productivity growth. These challenges call for domestic policies that support growth while boosting resilience and inclusiveness. To sustain long-term growth, structural reforms are needed to deal with challenges from demographic transition and to boost productivity.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper uses the case of the Slovak Republic to investigate how European Union (EU) countries can make optimal use of EU funds to reduce regional disparities. The findings suggest that high-quality government and a more educated population lead to better absorption of EU funds. There is also evidence that absorption increases when spending is more decentralized. Regions with a sufficient level of human capital and adequate institutions are more likely to spend the allocated funds efficiently and to experience growth as a result. With appropriate administrative and governance capacities, fighting corruption should therefore be the priority to speed absorption and allow for higher-quality projects.
Mr. Niklas J Westelius and Yihan Liu
Is Japan’s aging and, more recently, declining population hampering growth and reflation efforts? Exploiting demographic and economic variation in prefectural data between 1990 and 2007, we find that aging of the working age population has had a significant negative impact on total factor productivity. Moreover, prefectures that aged at a faster pace experienced lower overall inflation, while prefectures with higher population growth experienced higher inflation. The results give strong support to the notion that demographic headwinds can have a non-trivial impact on total factor productivity and deflationary pressures.
Mr. Shekhar Aiyar and Mr. Christian H Ebeke
The age-distribution of Europe’s workforce has shifted towards older workers over the past few decades, a process expected to accelerate in the years ahead.. This paper studies the effect of the aging of the workforce on labor productivity, identifies the main transmission channels, and examines what policies might mitigate the effects of aging. We find that workforce aging reduces growth in labor productivity, mainly through its negative effect on TFP growth. Projected workforce aging could reduce TFP growth by an average of 0.2 percentage points every year over the next two decades. A variety of policies could ameliorate this effect.