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Demographic change and labour markets

Lisenkova, Katerina and McQuaid, Ronald W. and Wright, Robert E. (2011) Demographic change and labour markets. Contemporary Social Science, 5 (3). pp. 243-259. ISSN 2158-2041

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Abstract

Two processes are expected to increasingly characterise demographic change in the 21st century in many countries - population ageing and potential population decline. Although there are links between population ageing and population decline, they will affect the labour market in different ways. As a population ages, so will its labour force, with an increasing share of older workers and a decreasing share of younger workers. Assuming no changes in age-specific labour force participation rates, population decline will result in a shrinking of the labour force, particularly those where the female participation rates are already high. Developed and developing countries are going to be affected by these demographic processes in different ways during the next four or so decades. Both groups of countries are going to experience labour force ageing. However, the size of the potential labour force in developing countries will still increase significantly during this period, while it is likely to decline in many developed countries. To address the issue of increasing dependency associated with a declining labour force, developed countries are likely to try to increase productivity and labour force participation rates, especially of older workers, as well as to use immigration to counteract labour force decline.