Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Johnson's Russia List

by Edward Hugh

Johnson's Russia List have a very interesting population thread which is here. Population is now falling and life expectancy has been reducing dramatically:

Glowing economic statistics show that Russia is in the midst of an oil-fueled boom, but the life expectancy of its citizens remained woefully low, the nation's top statistician said Tuesday......... Russia's population dropped by 0.5 percent, or 680,000 people, to 142.8 million last year, Sokolin (head of the Federal State Statistics Service) said. And the average life span of the Russian male is now just 58 the level to which it dropped in the social turmoil that followed the default just over seven years ago. "Nothing has changed with regard to life expectancy,"

There is also an interesting thread from Russia expert Murray Feshback:

Figures may be correct (or not) but out of context they can be misleading. In the case of the first item, reference is made to the fact that the current 2005 birth numbers are greater by 210,000 than in 1999. Yes, but (odnako). the 1999 birth numbers in Russia were only about 1,250,000 and the 2005 figure is 1,460,100 (in 2004, the number was even higher­1,502,500). Two points arise here, in sequence, the 1999 figure itself was one-half of the number in 1987, of 2,500,000 births, a drop of 50 percent. The comparison to 1999 may be technically correct, but leaves out much in its analysis. Second, the 1.4 or 1.5 million birth numbers are in part a reflection of a higher total fertility rate (the number of children born to women in ages 15-49 years), as well as in absolute terms the issue of the number of such women. Shortly, these latter numbers will decline by some one-third to reflect the downturn 20 to 29 years previously (the ages of their mothers at which some two-thirds of children are born in Russia). In addition, major issues of child and reproductive health are complicating factors now and in the near term.

Also here's a link to Murray Feshback and Cristina Galvin on HIV/Aids in Ukraine

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Demographic Challenges and The Lisbon Strategy

by Edward Hugh

Well, while linking the Vienna Institute of Demography Site, I've just noticed that Wolfgang Lutz doesn't take much time out for rest these days. He has just given a presentation entitled: Demographic Challenges and The Lisbon Strategy. I'm too tired to say much about this right now. I'll probably put something longer up on A Fistful of Euros during the next week.

I do very much agree with his orientation though. Particularly the following:

When considering pension expenditure, the key variable is not the demographic support ratio, but rather the balance between economically active and inactive persons.

The negative impact of demographic trends on this balance can be partially offset, if more persons of working age participate in the labour market.


Important open question

Will a higher proportion of elderly workers lead to lower productivity growth and less innovation?

Evidence that older people are less educated, less healthy and demand more transfers.

Open question whether older workers are less willing to adopt new technologies.

Unclear whether innovation and new firm entry hampered, if there are fewer young workers?

These are the issues.


Many skills decline with age – Experience increases with age

There is also the fear that in a globalizing world more investments will be made in dynamic markets rather than in those expected to stagnate.


• Population Ageing is a powerful force that will shape Europe’s society and economy in the future.

• Much is predetermined in the current age structure shaped by past trends, but there is certain room for policies to influence future fertility and migration levels that will moderate the speed and extent of ageing.

• Since this is a new experience in human history and Europe is at the forefront of this process, the social and economic implications are hard to predict.

• Ageing is a challenge rather than a crisis: It is like a current affecting a boat that has means to counteract it (by rowing or engine). The Lisbon strategy could be such an engine.

Rescaling The Life Cycle

I been spending this evening putting links in the sidebar. This is always a useful activity as you discover a lot of things. I have just learned that what I thought was an original idea from Sanderson and Scherbov (Life Cycle Rescaling) was in fact advanced earlier by Ronald Lee and Joshua Goldstein in this paper. You can find more papers by Joshua Goldstein here.

Actuaries of the World Unite!

Actuaries of the World Unite, all you have to lose is our money. But seriously though this International Symposium organised by the US Society of Actuaries entitled Living to 100 and Beyond is really interesting. Obviously given the quantity of money involved, and their professional responsibilities, actuaries have to take all this very very seriously indeed.

Welcome To Demography Matters

Well I think we are finally about to get started. Apologies in advance for any bits and pieces that don't work, or loose ends that have been left lying around. This is still pretty much a work in progress. How about a very useful power point presentation to kick things off. This one's from the French demographer Jean-Marie Robine and is entitled "Are We Living Longer and in Better Health?".