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Jel Classification:J11 

Report
Population Aging and the US Labor Force Participation Rate

The labor force participation rate dropped sharply at the beginning of the pandemic, and as of November 2021 it had recovered only about half of its lost ground. The failure of the participation rate to get closer to its level immediately before the pandemic has puzzled many analysts. In this note, we show that the current participation rate is much less puzzling if one compares it with participation in November 2017 (the last time the unemployment rate was at its current level of 4.2 percent), rather than February 2020 (immediately before the pandemic). Since November 2017, population aging ...
Current Policy Perspectives

Working Paper
The Baby Boomers and the Productivity Slowdown

The entry of baby boomers into the labor market in the 1970s slowed growth for physical and human capital per worker because young workers have little of both. Thus, the baby boom could have contributed to the 1970s productivity slowdown. I build and calibrate a model a la Huggett et al. (2011) with exogenous population and TFP to evaluate this theory. The baby boom accounts for 75% of the slowdown in the period 1964-69, 25% in 1970-74 and 2% in 1975-79. The retiring of baby boomers may cause a 2.8pp decline in productivity growth between 2020 and 2040, ceteris paribus.
Working Papers , Paper 2018-37

Report
Labor force participation in New England vs. the United States, 2007–2015: why was the regional decline more moderate?

This paper identifies the main forces that contributed to the decline in labor force participation in New England between 2007 and 2015, as well as the forces that moderated the region?s decline relative to that of the nation. This exercise contributes to an assessment of the outlook for participation in New England moving forward. Similar to previous findings pertaining to the United States as a whole, the single largest factor in the recent decline in labor force participation in New England was the shifting age composition of the region?s population. In particular, the share of New England ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 16-2

Report
Implications of Increasing College Attainment for Aging in General Equilibrium

We develop and calibrate an overlapping generations general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy with heterogeneous consumers who face idiosyncratic earnings and health risk to study the implications of exogenous trends in increasing college attainment, decreasing fertility, and increasing longevity between 2005 and 2100. While all three trends contribute to a higher old age dependency ratio, increasing college attainment has different macroeconomic implications because it increases labor productivity. Decreasing fertility and increasing longevity require the government to increase the ...
Staff Report , Paper 583

Working Paper
Returning to the Nest: Debt and Parental Co-residence Among Young Adults

This paper examines the relationship between a young adults' debt burden and the decision to co-reside with a parent. Using a quarterly panel of young adults' credit histories, and controlling for age, county, and quarter fixed effects, and local demographic characteristics, unemployment rates, and house prices, we estimate the relationship between current period debt and subsequent decisions to co-reside with a parent. Our results indicate that indebtedness--as measured by average loan balances, declining credit scores and delinquency on accounts--increases flows into parental co-residence. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-80

Working Paper
Using Payroll Processor Microdata to Measure Aggregate Labor Market Activity

We show that high-frequency private payroll microdata can help forecast labor market conditions. Payroll employment is perhaps the most reliable real-time indicator of the business cycle and is therefore closely followed by policymakers, academia, and financial markets. Government statistical agencies have long served as the primary suppliers of information on the labor market and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That said, sources of ?big data? are becoming increasingly available through collaborations with private businesses engaged in commercial activities that record ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-005

Working Paper
Demographics and the Evolution of Global Imbalances

The age distribution evolves asymmetrically across countries, influencing relative saving rates and labor supply. Emerging economies experienced faster increases in working age shares than advanced economies did. Using a dynamic, multicountry model I quantify the effect of demographic changes on trade imbalances across 28 countries since 1970. Counterfactually holding demographics constant reduces net exports in emerging economies and boosts them in advanced economies. On average, a one percentage point increase in a country?s working age share, relative to the world, increases its ratio of ...
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 332

Working Paper
Technology adoption, mortality and population dynamics

We develop a quantitative theory of mortality trends and population dynamics. Our theory emphasizes individual choices on costly adoption of healthy technologies and diffusion of knowledge about infections as a key channel for reducing mortality. Our theory is consistent with three observations on mortality: (i) The cross-country correlation between levels of mortality and income is negative; (ii) mortality in poor countries has converged to that of rich countries despite no convergence in income; and (iii) economic growth is not a prerequisite for mortality to decline. We calibrate our model ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-039

Working Paper
Understanding the New Normal : The Role of Demographics

Since the onset of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has experienced low real GDP growth and low real interest rates, including for long maturities. We show that these developments were largely predictable by calibrating an overlapping-generation model with a rich demographic structure to observed and projected changes in U.S. population, family composition, life expectancy, and labor market activity. The model accounts for a 1?percentage point decline in both real GDP growth and the equilibrium real interest rate since 1980?essentially all of the permanent declines in those variables ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-080

Working Paper
Technology Adoption, Mortality, and Population Dynamics

We develop a quantitative theory of mortality trends and population dynamics. We emphasize diseases as causes of death and individuals' decisions to reduce their mortality by adopting, at some cost, a modern health-related technology. Adoption confers a dynamic externality: Adoption becomes cheaper as more individuals acquire the modern technology. Our model generates an S-shaped diffusion curve, whose shape dictates the pace of mortality reduction in each country. We use the model to explain the gradual decline of mortality in Western Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries as well as the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2020-039

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