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

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Frey and colleagues outline 10 trends showing scale of America's demographic transitions

Starr says surveys intended to predict recidivism assign higher risk to poor

Prescott and colleagues find incidence of noncompetes in U.S. labor force varies by job, state, worker education

Highlights

ISR addition wins LEED Gold Certification

Call for Proposals: Small Grants for Research Using PSID Data. Due March 2, 2015

PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Next Brown Bag

Mon, March 9
Luigi Pistaferri, Consumption Inequality and Family Labor Supply

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