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Sastry's 10-year study of New Orleans Katrina evacuees shows demographic differences between returning and nonreturning

Stafford says less educated, smaller investors more likely to sell off stock and lock in losses during market downturn

Chen says job fit, job happiness can be achieved over time

Highlights

Deirdre Bloome wins ASA award for work on racial inequality and intergenerational transmission

Bob Willis awarded 2015 Jacob Mincer Award for Lifetime Contributions to the Field of Labor Economics

David Lam is new director of Institute for Social Research

Elizabeth Bruch wins Robert Merton Prize for paper in analytic sociology

Next Brown Bag

Monday, Oct 12
Joe Grengs, Policy & Planning for Social Equity in Transportation

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.

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