Home > Publications . Search All . Browse All . Country . Browse PSC Pubs . PSC Report Series

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Lam looks at population and development in next 15 years in UN commission keynote address

Mitchell et al. find harsh family environments may magnify disadvantage via impact on 'genetic architecture'

Frey says Arizona's political paradoxes explained in part by demography

Highlights

NIH announces new policy for resubmissions (4/17/14)

2014 PAA Annual Meeting, May 1-3, Boston

PSC newsletter spring 2014 issue now available

Raghunathan appointed director of Survey Research Center

Next Brown Bag


PSC Brown Bags will return in the fall

David Lam photo

Population Growth, Age Structure, and Age-Specific Productivity

Publication Abstract

Lam, David. 1989. "Population Growth, Age Structure, and Age-Specific Productivity." Journal of Population Economics, 2: 189-210.

Motivated by empirical evidence that fluctuations in age structure affect relative wages across age groups, this paper asks whether there is a steady-state age distribution that maximizes the lifetime wages of a representative worker. The paper proves the surprising result that in a pure labor economy with any constant returns technology, a uniform age distribution minimizes lifetime wages. Skewed age distributions, generated by either positive or negative population growth rates, generate unambiguously higher lifetime wages than a stationary population, in spite of possible reductions in per capita output in every period. The presence of non-labor factors complicates, but does not necessarily reverse, this result. The paper relates the beneficial effects of higher rates of population growth on lifetime wages in the pure labor economy with imperfect substitutability across age groups to the benefits of population growth that appear in overlapping-generationn consumption loan models with intergenerational transfers.

Browse | Search : All Pubs | Next