The effects of population aging on South Korea’s economy: The National Transfer Accounts approach

This study examines how two factors of population aging, changes in fertility and mortality, will respectively affect South Korea’s economic future. The economic effects of population aging are examined by considering the population in each age group under alternative demographic scenarios. Utilizing recent population projections and South Korea’s National Transfer Accounts, the paper applies a simple decomposition model measuring the respective effects of fertility and mortality on separate aspects of the economy: labor income, private and public consumption, and public and private transfers. The results show that the effects of low fertility and low mortality on the economy are very different in direction, magnitude, timing, and impact by age group. The only effect of an aging population that is the same in all circumstances is the effect on the public pension system: low fertility and mortality will increase pressure on the public pension system of South Korea.

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