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Andreas Heigl (2007)

Demographic Development and Economics: What Lies in Store?*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 32, 3-4/2007, p. 445-467, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

The ageing and shrinking of the (working) population as a threat to economic development in Germany is no longer a new topic. Having said that, so far both scientific analysis and political debate have focussed relatively unilaterally on the impact on social security systems. Questions such as impact on consumption and savings patterns, and hence on demand in society as a whole, as well as on financial markets, innovativeness and productivity, have so far only been the subject of rudimentary research.

The article combines the information which is available concerning demographic development and its consequences for individual macroeconomic factors and for the economy as a whole, and embeds it in the present macroeconomic theoretical structure. The starting point of the analysis is a forecast of consumption and savings profiles up to 2030 on the basis of the income and expenditure survey and of the 10th Coordinated Population Forecast of the Federal Statistical Office.

On the demand side, ageing appears to harbour far fewer problems in this analysis than the threatened shrinking of the population. On the supply side, ageing and shrinking equally appear to pose a threat to innovativeness and productivity. It is however too soon to reach an unambiguous judgment; there is no economic "shrinkage theory" which is able to systematically integrate types of development which are historically completely new. Nonetheless, a list of policy measures with which to adjust the socioeconomic structures of demographic development can be named.

* Original title: Demographische Entwicklung und Ökonomie: Was kommt auf uns zu? (full text in German only)

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