Policy Options to Respond to the Economic Challenges of Aging Populations and Their Potential Impact on the Care Economy

Gretchen Donehower, University of California, Berkeley
Paulo M. Saad, United Nations
Tim Miller, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Age structure changes have played a role in promoting economic growth by increasing the working-age population relative to the population dependent upon it, but most countries face a future of population aging in which the opposite will be true. We identify the most favorable year in terms of the number of producers relative to consumers in a diverse group of countries and measure the magnitude of future projected decline. We evaluate two alternative policies to offset the decline in relative productive capacity: postponing retirement versus closing the gender gap in labor market production. Different policies are more or less effective in different countries. Of course, increasing older persons’ and women’s market work time may conflict with non-market roles they played as unpaid caregivers. Using time use data, we evaluate the potential impact on the unpaid care economy of delaying retirement or moving more women into the formal labor market.

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Presented in Session 20: Economics of Aging in Low and Middle Income Countries