Macroeconomic impacts of changes in life expectancy and fertility

by David Miles

Published in The Journal of the Economics of Ageing Volume 24, February 2023, 100425


This paper analyses economic implications of the different ways in which the population structure of countries becomes older: longer lives and declines in fertility both generate ageing populations but have very different impacts upon the aggregate population. If lower fertility persists populations in many countries will decline. Having reviewed the evidence for this, I consider both why fertility rates have fallen and may stay low. I then analyse the economic implications of populations that may stop growing and start to fall, focusing on how this may play out in the UK. I consider policy implications of such a demographic shift. Despite many predictions of the dire consequences of falling populations the economic impacts are likely, on balance, to be positive.

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