Avraham Ebenstein, Moshe Hazan, Avi Simhon, 02 December 2011

For years, policymakers trying to influence the decisions of would-be parents have tried to change the ‘price’ of having children. In France they have made it cheaper; in China more expensive. This column looks at whether such policies are likely to have their desired effect. It examines unique evidence of a shock to the cost of having a child in Israeli communities between 1990 and 2000.

Dirk Niepelt, Martín Gonzalez-Eiras, 24 June 2011

Should developed countries raise their retirement ages to combat the economic effects of their ageing populations? This column presents a model suggesting that, viewed in isolation, putting off retirement will actually reduce growth. It is only when viewed along with other policies that the benefits for growth arise.

Carlo Favero, Arie Gozluklu, Andrea Tamoni, 05 April 2010

Are long-run stock market returns predictable? This column shows that a forecasting model that uses a demographic variable – the ratio of middle-aged to young adults – as well as the dividend price ratio, performs “very well” in forecasting long-horizon stock market returns.

Benny Geys, Friedrich Heinemann, Alexander Kalb, 19 December 2007

Demographic change is old news in many fields (pensions, growth, etc.), but its impact on the economic geography of regions is understudied. Due to scale economies in the provision of public goods, regions with falling populations can experience declines in public amenities that accelerate the population drop. Here is some recent research on German municipalities illustrating problems that may soon face much of Europe.

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