Who gains from the demographic dividend? Forecasting income by age
Changes in the population age structure are known to influence the total income per person, but little is known about whether the changes are equally shared across the population or are concentrated on particular age groups and/or birth cohorts. The answer to this question has potentially important implications for income inequality, human capital investment, and fertility decision-making. We propose a new model of intergenerational transfers which distinguishes between the effects of changes in population structure and the effects of changes in family age structure. Using age-specific data from annual income and expenditure surveys of Taiwan between 1978 and 1998, we show that changes in age structure have had a very favorable effect on Taiwan's income growth. The gains are not equally shared by all age groups, however. Children and young adults have benefited the most, while the elderly have benefited the least. The population and family age structures have independent effects on per capita income; the effect of the population age structure is most important. Generational differences in per capita income are closely related to intergenerational differences in earnings, suggesting only a weak form of altruism. Finally, we predict that, on average, population aging will adversely influence the per capita income growth in Taiwan in the coming decades.