A rapidly aging population poses serious challenges for many countries around the world, particularly in Asia, home to the most populous countries. China and India account for nearly 36% of the world’s population, and are expected to face social and economic complications from demographic change in the next decades.
A special issue of the Journal of the Economics of Ageing explores these trends in a comparative perspective, “The Economic Implications of Population Ageing in China and India” (December 2014), co-edited by David Bloom, a professor at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, and Karen Eggleston, a Center Fellow at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.
“Population ageing represents uncharted waters for China and India,” Bloom and Eggleston write in their coauthored introduction.
The special issue is a collection of 10 articles that examine the economic benefits and potential dilemmas arising from decreased fertility and increased life expectancy, two trends that will impact the development and future trajectories of China and India at the micro- and macroeconomic levels.
Dropping or continued low birth rates imply fewer young people to refresh the labor market. But will this cause the workforce to shrink to an unsustainable level? Demand will increase for health care, long term care, and other social services that support the elderly. What must the government do to ensure adequate access to care?
Empirical data and commentary presented in the special issue seek to inform stakeholders about emerging patterns, and to provide insight on how to best address related policy challenges going forward.
“By adopting responsive behaviors and consultative institutions that address the challenges of population ageing in ways that are appropriate to their unique circumstances, China and India could reap the full economic and social benefits of longer, healthier lives,” they write.
The special issue includes an introduction by Bloom and Eggleston, a feature interview with Richard Suzman, and additional analysis by noted global health experts following each article. The titles and authors of the 10 original research articles are listed below:
The special issue of the Journal of the Economics of Ageing, vol. 4, pages 1-154 (December 2014) is available through Elsevier’s online platform ScienceDirect.