Is a Great Labor Shortage Coming? Replacement Demand in the Global Economy
Richard B. Freeman
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Studies; Harvard University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
NBER Working Paper No. w12541
This paper assesses the claim the the US faces an impending labor shortage due to the impending retirement of baby boomers and slow growth of the US work force, and that the country should orient labor market and educational policies to alleviate this prospective shortage. I find that this analysis is flawed, by making growth of GDP the target of economic policy and by paying inadequate attention to the huge supply of qualified low wage workers in the global economy. My analysis shows that the projections of future demands for skills lack the reliability to guide policies on skill development, and that contrary to the assumption implicit in the shortage analyses, demographic changes have not historically been consistently associated with changes in labor market conditions. I argue that if there is to be a shortage, the country should allow the competitive market to raise labor compensation rather than to adopt policies to keep labor costs low.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34working papers series
Date posted: October 6, 2006
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.485 seconds