The next step is to set labor income aside and consider how consumption net of labor income is funded. The advantage is that by looking at how elder consumption net of labor income is funded, we can distinguish public and private transfers as well as asset income.
Figure shows the result. Most countries are arrayed along the edge joining assets and public transfers, indicating that the elderly have zero net family transfers or, in most cases, they are making net familial transfers to younger people. Public transfers are a very important source of old age support for most countries. Asian countries, however, rely more prominently on the family as a source of old-age consumption.
Capital accumulation and women's labour in Asian economies / Peter Custers.
India, the Philippines, and Thailand lie on the edge joining assets and family transfers, indicating that public transfers play no role. Indonesia also lies on this edge-line, but so far above the asset vertex as to be outside the range of the chart. China, South Korea, and Taiwan are well inside the triangle, indicating that old age support is drawn from all three sources, with Taiwan drawing quite equally on the three.
Japan lies on the edge connecting assets and public transfers, indicating that on net, elders neither give nor receive family transfers. How is elder consumption net of labor income funded? In the countries located near the public transfers vertex, the elderly have little motivation to save for retirement on average, because their consumption needs are met by public pensions and healthcare. This does not mean that there is little saving, because there are certainly many other motives to save besides provision for old age.
Holdings: Capital accumulation and women's labour in Asian economies
It does mean, however, that in these countries, population aging is less likely to produce a second demographic dividend by raising asset accumulation and making the economy more capital intensive and the labor more productive. The main cause of population aging is low fertility, not longer life. East Asia has had exceptionally rapid and deep fertility declines, and the average total fertility rate in the region is now 1.
East Asia is also known for its heavy investment in education per child, and it is sometimes suggested that this is one of the explanations for its rapid economic growth over recent decades. Might the very low fertility be linked to the high investment in human capital? A well-developed theory in economics, originally due to Becker and Lewis and Willis , asserts that parents derive utility from both the quantity and the average quality of their children, as well as from their own consumption.
Quantity and quality interact in the budget constraint multiplicatively, since the total amount spent by parents on their children is the number of children times the amount spent per child, quantity times quality. In the extreme case often used for expositional purposes, the parents first decide an amount to allocate to children in total, and then decide how to allocate it between quantity and quality.
Understanding women’s labour
When income rises over time, the demand for quality, which is posited to have a larger income elasticity than the demand for quantity, rises, and this raises the shadow price of quantity. The net result is that parents opt to have lower fertility and to invest much more in each child. Other factors can also alter the balance between quantity and quality, such as the rate of return to human capital as perceived by parents, the availability of contraceptives, or improved transportation networks that reduce the cost to parents of sending their children to school.
Although the quantity-quality theory was developed for private expenditures, it may also characterize public spending on human capital. The rise in the support ratio may ease fiscal constraints faced by governments, allowing them to invest more in human capital. Governments might be forward-looking and invest more in human capital so as to offset the coming decline in the number of workers. In light of these various possibilities, it is interesting to look at the cross-national relationship between investment in human capital per child and the Total Fertility Rate TFR.
First, however, we explain how we measure human capital investment. The theoretical literature Becker et al.
We choose to focus on the explicit spending on education and health, since this is more clearly discretionary rather than being passively tied to parental consumption such as housing and meal choices and is more clearly linked to later life labor productivity. We sum from the NTA estimates of public and private spending per child for each single year of age. For education, these sums go from 0 to 26 to include postgraduate education, while for healthcare they go from 0 through This gives a synthetic cohort estimate of human capital investment per child, with public and private spending combined.
As elsewhere, we standardize the results for different countries by dividing the human capital measure by average labor income for ages 30— We will therefore plot the logarithm of our measure of human capital investment against the logarithm of fertility. Figure shows the result for the eight Asian countries, for both total and private human capital expenditures.
However, the scatter is much tighter to the line for the total investment than for the private investment, consistent with the idea that public and private investments substitute for one another. Investment in human capital in relation to total fertility rate in Asia.
The log of standardized public expenditure on human capital in a country is shown by the gap between the two markers circle and cross for that country. Thus Japan and Taiwan invest the same amount in total, but Taiwan has low public spending and high private spending, while Japan has the opposite. China and South Korea both have low public spending, whereas Thailand has unusually high public spending. The East Asian countries have far lower fertility than those in Southeast Asia or India, and they have correspondingly higher human capital investment per child.
The per child human capital investment in Taiwan and Japan is approximately five years of prime age labor income, an amount comparable to that of Europe. Elsewhere we have looked at the relation of changes over time in fertility and human capital in Japan, Taiwan, and the United States, and found similar results Lee and Mason, b.
We expect that as fertility falls in other Asian countries, spending per child will rise, with beneficial effects for future labor productivity and economic growth. To some degree, quality of labor will be substituted for quantity of labor, reducing the difficulties of the working ages in providing for the elderly population.
National Transfer Accounts rely on survey data as a key source of information, in addition to National Income and Product Accounts and various kinds of administrative data. The richness and quality of HRS-type data henceforth, HRSTD can potentially improve the quality of the NTA estimates in a number of ways, despite its restriction to respondents who are at least 45 or 50 years of age. HRSTD can provide high-quality data on interhousehold transfers to and from the elderly.
Preliminary work along these lines for the United States has so far found good agreement between the NTA and HRS data, after appropriate adjustments are made to bring the concepts into line. HRSTD on bequests should be particularly valuable, because data on bequests, particularly smaller bequests, are hard to come by.
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In some countries, data on savings and asset holdings are also not readily available. Savings rates are necessary for NTA flow accounts. Ordinarily, they are calculated in NTA as a residual, so having high quality data to check against this residual is valuable, in part because matching the residual would provide a partial confirmation of the other estimates from which it is derived.
Asset holdings are necessary to construct NTA wealth accounts. The difficulties with measures of asset holdings are particularly severe in East Asia, where many elderly transfer ownership of their assets to their co-residing adult son well before the time of death. This practice makes it very difficult to trace the accumulation of assets over the life course, which is necessary for understanding how population aging affects asset accumulation.
With the data now used to construct NTAs, we attribute ownership of assets to the head of the household, which may obscure the behavioral processes that lead to its original accumulation. Most obviously, NTAs cover the entire age range, not just the elderly.
But there is much more. NTAs estimate intrahousehold transfers such as transfers to co-resident elders. Since familial transfers are a very important source of support for the elderly in Asia, as we saw in Figure , it is important to develop information about their size absolutely and relative to other sources of support available to the elderly. Familial transfers to co-resident elderly also provide for intergenerational sharing that enables the elderly to share in the benefits of very rapid economic growth long after they have left the labor force.
NTAs also provide a natural interface with macroeconomic models and analyses, including overlapping generations models and Auerbach-Kotlikoff-Gohkale style Generational Accounting Auerbach, Gokhale, and Kotlikoff, ; Auerbach, Kotlikoff, and Leibfritz, Similarly, NTAs lend naturally to long-term projections and assessments of fiscal sustainability of public-sector programs.
Population aging in East Asia will be early and profound, due to early fertility declines to very low levels and high and rising life expectancy. In most of Southeast Asia Thailand is an exception and India, aging will come later and more gradually. What can be said about the economic effects that this population aging will have? The data presented in this chapter provide some insights and raise some questions. Japan is the richest Asian country and had the earliest fertility transition. Unlike other Asian countries, Japan has also instituted public sector transfer programs for the elderly that are quite similar to those in Europe, with generous pensions, health care, and long-term care.
As a result, Japan will face similarly severe long-term fiscal problems as its population ages. As in Europe and the United States, the consequences of population aging in Japan are exacerbated by a strong upward gradient in consumption by age, a pattern that has probably emerged in recent decades as the welfare state has grown. In the rest of Asia, the public-sector transfers to the elderly are very low, and if they remain so, then population aging will not threaten fiscal sustainability. However, it would not be surprising if they followed Japan and other rich countries in coming decades and developed similar public transfers to the elderly.
Without public transfers for the elderly, one might wonder whether the family will instead bear the costs of population aging. Indeed, in East Asia and in Thailand, net familial support of the elderly is important. In India and Southeast Asia, however, neither public transfers nor net familial transfers go to the elderly. The elderly, who continue to earn labor income, also receive substantial asset income and use it not only for their own consumption, but also to make net transfers to their children. In any case, in these circumstances population aging would impose smaller costs on the working age population.
Furthermore, outside of Japan, consumption is flat across age from the early twenties until death, which means that population aging will be less costly for families. Population aging may also be associated with increased physical capital and increased human capital per worker. In countries where the elderly hold substantial assets that they accumulated through their savings out of their lifetime earnings rather than through inheritance, population aging will tend to raise asset holdings per capita, and if these are invested in the domestic economy, then the rising capital labor ratio will boost productivity and wages.
In addition, the low and declining fertility that is the main cause of population aging is associated with increased investments in human capital per child, raising future productivity and earnings. This has been particularly so in Asia, both through public and private spending. In this way, quality of workers may be substituted for quantity, further reducing the adverse effects of population aging in this region. The economic consequences of population aging in Asian countries will depend on whether they follow the path of Japan or instead retain the current features of their public sectors and private economic behaviors.
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Paperback Aakar Books, New Delhi , pages. Price INR Add to Cart. Peter Custers Peter Custers was a Dutch journalist and researcher who worked extensively on South Asia, particularly Bangladesh. Book Description Zed Books Ltd. Seller Inventory Peter Custers. Publisher: Zed Books , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:.
Synopsis About this title The international financial system is in a transitional phase--the world center of capitalist accumulation will soon be East Asia with Japan at its center. Review : 'An important contribution Buy New View Book.
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