U.S./Japan Conference on Aging

NBER Reporter, Fall 1989 | Go to article overview

U.S./Japan Conference on Aging


U.S./Japan Conference on Aging

The National Bureau of Economic Research and the Japan Center for Economic Research jointly sponsored a conference on "The Economics of Aging" in Tokyo on September 8 and 9. The program was:

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, NBER and Boston University,

"Some Macroeconomic Implications of Aging

Populations"

Discussant: Yasushi Iwamoto, Osaka University

Yukio Noguchi, Hitotsubashi University,

"Macroeconomic Implications of Population Aging"

Discussant: James H. Stock, NBER and Harvard

University

Michael D. Hurd, NBER and State University of New

York at Stony Brook, "The Economic Status of the

Elderly in the United States"

Discussant: Toshiaki Tachibanaki, Kyoto University

Noriyuki Takayama, Hitotsubashi University,

"Household Asset and Wealth Holdings in Japan"

Discussant: Michael D. Hurd

Daniel McFadden, NBER and MIT, "Problems of

Housing the Elderly in the United States"

Discussant: Miki Seko, Nihon University

Seiritsu Ogura, Saitama University, "Cost of Aging:

Public Finance Perspective for Japan"

Discussant: Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Alan M. Garber, NBER and Stanford University,

"Financing Health Care for Elderly Americans in the

1990s"

Discussant: Hiroo Urushi, Sophia University

Shuzo Nishimura, Kyoto University, "Health Care

Demand by the Elderly in the Japanese Growing

Economy"

Discussant: Martin Feldstein, NBER and Harvard

University

Robin Lumsdaine, Harvard University, and David A.

Wise, NBER and Harvard University, "Aging and

Labor Force Participation: A Review of Trends and

Explanations"

Discussant: Haruo Shimada, Keio University

Atsushi Seike, Keio University, "The Effect of the

Employee Pension on the Labor Supply of the

Japanese Elderly"

Discussant: Edward P. Lazear, NBER and University

of Chicago

Kotlikoff suggests that declining saving rates over the first half of the next century will be associated with higher real wage rates and more capital per worker. These increased real wages will help to absorb the significant cost of projected increases in Social Security tax rates.

Noguchi predicts that the aging of the Japanese population, which is occurring much more rapidly than the aging of the U.S. population, will lead to reduced saving in Japan. Indeed, he suggests that Japan might become a capital-importing country in the next century. Noguchi argues that over the next two decades the Japanese government should expand investment in housing and urban infrastructure; after that, it will be difficult to allocate sufficient resources for that investment because of the shortage of national saving. He further suggests that an increase in Japanese domestic spending is desirable for international harmony. Both Kotlikoff and Noguchi emphasize that their results are sensitive to model specification. Current estimates of the effect of aging on national saving vary widely, they acknowledge.

Hurd reports that the elderly in the United States are at least as well off, and possibly substantially better off, than the nonelderly. In addition, they are well protected from inflation because much of their income, including Social Security, is indexed. In the relatively near future, the economic status of the elderly who are currently retired seems well assured, according to Hurd. However, in the more distant future, when the baby-boom generation retires and there are many more retirees per employed person, the consumption of the elderly relative to the consumption of employed persons will be lower then than it is today.

Takayama finds that the elderly in Japan are wealthier than the working-age population. …

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