International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development discusses link between demographics and economic well-being. In the coming decades, demographics is expected to be more favorable to economic well-being in the less developed regions than in the more developed regions. The age structure of a population reflects mainly its fertility and mortality history. In high-mortality populations, improved survival tends to occur disproportionately among children. The “demographic dividend” refers to the process through which a changing age structure can spur economic growth. It depends, of course, on several complex factors, including the nature and pace of demographic change, the operation of labor and capital markets, macroeconomic management and trade policies, governance, and human capital accumulation. Population aging is the dominant demographic trend of the twenty-first century—a reflection of increasing longevity, declining fertility, and the progression of large cohorts to older ages. Barring a change in current trends, the industrial world’s working-age population will decline over the next generation, and China’s working-age population will decline as well. At the same time, trends toward increased labor force participation of women have played out with, for example, more women than men now working in the United States.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the long-run economic impact of Brexit on the United Kingdom under two distinct assumptions for the post-Brexit relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. These illustrative scenarios entail different degrees of higher trade costs, a more restricted European Union migration regime and reduced foreign inward investment. A standard multicountry and multisector computable general equilibrium model is used to quantify the impact of higher trade barriers. There is substantial sectoral heterogeneity in the impact, and regions with higher concentrations of the more affected sectors are likely to confront greater losses. The empirical analysis suggests the speed of sectoral labor relocation across sectors has been relatively low in the UK. Irrespective of these empirical estimates, policies, such as retraining, would be critical to facilitate faster adjustment of the economy to the post-Brexit equilibrium thereby helping to minimize the associated costs to individuals and in aggregate.
The paper examines the potential effects of international migration on labor force participation in advanced economies in Europe. It documents that migration played a significant role in alleviating aging pressures on labor supply by affecting the age composition of receiving countries’ populations. However, micro-level analysis also points to differences in average educational levels, as well as differences in the effects of any given level of education on participation across migrants and natives. Difficulties related to the recognition of educational qualifications appear to be associated with smaller effects of education on the odds of participation for migrants, especially women.
Ms. Florence Jaumotte, Ksenia Koloskova, and Ms. Sweta Chaman Saxena
The recent refugee surge has brought attention to the macro-critical policy issue of migration, including speculations that migration can be an unfavorable phenomenon for the receiving economies. A careful examination of the impact of migration on host economies is thus critical. Focusing on the economic impact, most of the academic discussion has centered on the effect of migration on labor markets and public finances. Much less is known about the long-term impact of immigration on the GDP per capita (or the standard of living) of host economies. This note makes three contributions to estimating this impact: it uses a restricted sample of advanced economies rather than a mixed sample of higher- and lower-income host countries, it examines whether the GDP per capita impact varies for different skill levels of migrants, and it goes beyond the aggregate impact of migration on GDP per capita to examine how broadly gains in this regard are shared across the population. In particular, it examines whether migration impacts the income levels of those both at the top and at the bottom of the earnings distribution, or whether gains are instead concentrated in a small group of high earners. It finds that immigration significantly increases GDP per capita in advanced economies, that both high- and lower-skilled migrants can raise labor productivity, and that an increase in the migrant share benefits the average income per capita of both the bottom 90 percent and the top 10 percent of earners, suggesting the gains from immigration are broadly shared.
This Selected Issues paper estimates the fiscal impact of demographic changes in Portugal and the euro area over the period 2015–2100. Under the baseline projections of the United Nations, Portugal is among the countries in the euro area that is expected to be most hurt by demographic developments. During 2015–2100, its population is expected to shrink by about 30 percent while the old-age dependency ratio is expected to more than double, driven mostly by low fertility, higher longevity, and migration outflows. Age-related public spending would increase by about 6 percentage points of GDP under the baseline over the period 2015–50, and the public debt path would become unsustainable in the absence of offsetting policies.