The Economic Demography Transition: Is China's ‘Not Rich, First Old’ Circumstance a Barrier to Growth?

21 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2020

Date Written: December 2019

Abstract

Around 1980 China adopted a reformist economic agenda and a restrictive population policy. China's consequential ‘getting old before rich’ discourse is herein advanced into the ‘economic demography transition’ and economic demography matrix (EDM). EDM transition analysis of 182 economies from 1996 to 2016 identifies: i) China to be one of many ‘poor‐old’ economies; and ii) a majority of countries recently entering the high‐income group were first old. These results question China's 1980s‐based fears that early demographic transition would stall development and also call for enhanced nuance in understanding economic and demographic change links.

Keywords: China, economic demography, population ageing

Suggested Citation

Johnston, Lauren A, The Economic Demography Transition: Is China's ‘Not Rich, First Old’ Circumstance a Barrier to Growth? (December 2019). Australian Economic Review, Vol. 52, Issue 4, pp. 406-426, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3557383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8462.12325

Lauren A Johnston (Contact Author)

SOAS University of London ( email )

SOAS University of London 10 Thornhaugh Street, Ru
London, WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

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