Chapter

Population-Induced Economic Slumps

Diane J. Macunovich

in Birth Quake

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780226500836
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226500928 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226500928.003.0015
Population-Induced Economic Slumps

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This chapter presents some of the preliminary findings on overall economic performance across all nations (the incidence of recessions and depressions). The unforeseen changes in population age structure have the potential for triggering catastrophic economic turmoil—and virtually always appear to cause at least a degree of economic dislocation. There have been pronounced fluctuations in the proportion of the population aged 15–24 across all nations during the twentieth century, which seem to coincide with major fluctuations in economic activity. The United States has experienced only one episode of declining relative cohort size that seemed to translate almost immediately into increases in fertility. It seems likely that the effects of wartime expenditures will prevent from unraveling the true effects of changing cohort size.

Keywords: economic performance; recessions; depressions; population age structure; economic dislocation; United States; relative cohort size; fertility

Chapter.  3087 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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