The rapidly aging populations of many developed countries--most notably Japan and member countries of the European Union--present obvious problems for the public pension plans of these countries. Not only will there be disproportionately fewer workers making pension contributions than there are retirees drawing pension benefits, but the youth-to-age imbalance would significantly affect the total contributive capacity of future generations and hence their total income growth. In Children and Pensions, Alessandro Cigno and Martin Werding examine the way pension policy and child-related benefits affect fertility behavior and productivity growth. They present theoretical arguments to the effect that public pension coverage as such will reduce aggregate fertility and may raise aggregate household savings. They argue further that public pensions, as they are currently designed, discourage parents from private human capital investment in their children to improve the children’s future earning capacity. After an overview of pension and child benefit policies (focusing on the European Union, Japan, and the United States), the authors offer an empirical and theoretical analysis and a simulation of the effects of the policies under discussion. Their policy proposals to address declines in fertility and productivity growth include the innovative suggestion that relates a person’s pension entitlements to his or her number of children and the children’s earning ability--proposing that, in effect, a person’s pension could be financed in part or in full by the pensioner’s own children. Alessandro Cigno is Professor of Economics at the University of Florence and coauthor of The Economics of Child Labor. Martin Werding is Head of the Department of Social Policy and Labor Markets at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research and the editor of Structural Unemployment in Europe: Reasons and Remedies (MIT Press, 2006).
In 2050, world population growth is predicted to come almost to a halt. Shortly thereafter it may well start to shrink. A major reason behind this shift is the fertility decline that has taken place in many developed countries. In this book, experts discuss the appropriateness and effectiveness of using public policy to influence fertility decisions. Contributors discuss the general feasibility of public interventions in the area of fertility, analyze fertility patterns and policy design in such countries as Japan, South Korea, China, Sweden, and France, and offer theoretical analyses of parental fertility choices that provide an overview of a broad array of child-related policy instruments in a number of OECD and EU countries. The chapters show that it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of such policy interventions as child-care subsidies, support for women’s labor-force participation, and tax incentives. Data are often incomplete, causal relations unproved, and the role of social norms and culture difficult to account for. Investigating reasons for the decline in fertility more closely will require further study. This volume offers the latest work on this increasingly important subject.
Structural unemployment, or persistently high levels of unemployment that do not follow the ups and downs of a typical business cycle, varies significantly across industrialized countries. In this CESifo volume, leading labor economists analyze the widely diverging patterns of long-term unemployment across Western Europe. Drawing on recent developments in labor market theory and macroeconomics to explain the emergence and persistence of unemployment, the studies look for fundamental explanations and common patterns that might lead to policy solutions.The two opening chapters offer overviews of the problem: European labor market expert Stephen Nickell highlights the unemployment situation in the "Big Four" continental European states of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, and American economist Edmund S. Phelps focuses on new theoretical approaches that examine institutional factors influencing unemployment in a given country. Following these introductory essays, prominent economists consider the experiences of their home countries, in chapters on Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. By taking advantage of the richness of research conducted at a national level and making the work accessible to an international audience, this volume contributes to a new understanding of structural unemployment and how it can be overcome through labor market reforms and other economic policy measures.Contributors:Torben Andersen, Samuel Bentolila, Norbert Berthold, Guiseppe Bertola, Rainer Fehn, Pietro Garibaldi, Bertil Holmlund, Juan F. Jimeno, Erkki Koskela, Stephen J. Nickell, Jan C. van Ours, Edmund S. Phelps, Jean Pisany-Ferry, Christopher Pissarides, Roope Uusitalo, Brendan Walsh, Martin Werding