East Asian Economic Development: Two Demographic Dividends


Andrew Mason and Tomoko Kinugasa

East-West Center Working Papers, Economics Series, No. 83


Honolulu: East-West Center

Publication Date: June 2005
Binding: paper
Pages: 27
Free Download: PDF


The importance of the demographic dividend to East Asian economic growth is now widely recognized. During the last four decades of the 20th Century the working age populations grew much more rapidly than the dependent populations fueling growth in per capita income. Over the coming decades, however, demographic change is seemingly unfavorable. In the coming decades the working-age populations of many countries will grow more slowly than dependent populations because of rapid growth of the elderly. Thus, the demographic dividend will be undone. The thesis advanced in this presentation, however, is that appropriate economic policy could produce a second demographic dividend—one that is as great or greater than the first dividend and one that may last indefinitely. Contrary to popular wisdom, population aging may prove to be the source of stronger economic growth and greater prosperity in East Asia.