Most of the world is now at the point where the support ratio is becoming adverse, and the growth of the global workforce is slowing. This column argues that these changes will have profound and negative effects on economic growth. This implies that negative real interest rates are not the new normal, but rather an extreme artefact of a series of trends, several of which are coming to an end. By 2025, real interest rates should have returned to their historical equilibrium value of around 2.5–3%.
Charles A.E. Goodhart, Philipp Erfurth, Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Harun Onder, Pierre Pestieau, Tuesday, May 20, 2014
The world’s population is ageing, due to both increasing longevity and decreasing fertility. This column shows that the net effect of ageing on capital accumulation (and therefore growth) depends on which of these two factors dominates, and also on the structure of the pension system. Under a pension system with defined contributions, a reduction in fertility induces adjustments in savings and working life that unambiguously increase capital per worker.
Clemens Hetschko, Andreas Knabe, Ronnie Schöb, Friday, May 4, 2012
Most people’s wellbeing is permanently affected by unemployment. This column argues that the unhappiness is due to a loss of identity, rather than daily experiences. Using German data, it shows that the long-term unemployed become happier upon entering retirement, thus changing social category, even though this does not change their daily lives.
James Choi, Emily Haisley, Jennifer Kurkoski, Cade Massey, Wednesday, March 28, 2012
As if today’s problems aren’t enough, in the coming years Europe faces what economists are calling a ‘demographic timebomb’, with ageing populations placing an unsustainable burden on already precarious public finances. In order to encourage more people to save for themselves, this column argues that using a psychological intervention can increase contributions to retirement savings accounts by up to 2.9% of income.
Andreas Kuhn, Jean-Philippe Wuellrich, Josef Zweimüller , Sunday, March 25, 2012
While the retirement age in most developed countries is going up, this column looks at what happens when it goes down. In some countries, those who work in physically demanding jobs are demanding the right to retire earlier. This column finds that people should be careful what they wish for.
Agar Brugiavini, Viola Angelini, Guglielmo Weber, Monday, March 12, 2012
In January the UK government launched an initiative to help the elderly downsize into smaller homes – and provoked the ire of pensioner groups nationwide. This reluctance to downsize to among the elderly perplexes economists, who maintain that leveraging housing wealth can help pensioners maintain a good standard of living on a fixed income. CEPR DP8889 investigates what is behind European pensioners’ puzzling housing decisions.
Philip Sauré, Hosny Zoabi, Saturday, November 19, 2011
In Mexico, the average male worker retires at 75. In Bulgaria, he does so at 58. This column argues that an economy’s composition of occupations matters for its average effective retirement age as the nature of different occupations leads workers to retire at different ages. It suggests the differences in occupational composition explain up to 40% of the observed cross-country variation in retirement age.