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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In conjunction with its annual Article IV consultation with Japan, IMF staff prepared a background paper (Japan—Selected Issues) on a number of key topics. Two chapters of that paper dealt with the macroeconomic and fiscal implications of Japan’s aging population. The authors—Hamid Faruqee, an Economist in the Research Department, and Martin MÜhleisen, an Economist in the Asia and Pacific Department—speak with the IMF Survey about their findings.

W. Todd Groome, Mr. Nicolas R Blancher, and Parmeshwar Ramlogan

The Economics of Demographics provides a detailed look at how the biggest demographic upheaval in history is affecting global development. The issue explores demographic change and the effects of population aging from a variety of angles, including pensions, health care, financial markets, and migration, and looks specifically at the impact in Europe and Asia. Picture This looks at global demographic trends, while Back to Basics explains the concept of the demographic dividend. Country Focus spotlights Kazakhstan, while People in Economics profiles Nobel prize winner Robert Mundell. IMF Economic Counsellor Raghuram Rajan argues for further change in India's style of government in his column, Straight Talk.

Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. Richard Hemming

This paper describes the World Bank’s mission in a changing world. Conditionality of the Bank is different in several ways as it operates over a longer timeframe and relates to the more comfortable issues of economic growth rather than financial stabilization. The longer timeframes of the Bank’s programs require reaching agreement with borrowing countries on the desirability of maintaining the course that’s being advocated for an extended period. Many developing countries are unduly sensitive about the possibility that they may have to exercise their sovereignty more forcefully in the future.

Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero, Mr. Peter S. Heller, Mr. Menachem Katz, Mr. Robert A Feldman, Mr. Richard Hemming, Mr. Peter Kohnert, Ziba Farhadian, Mr. Donogh McDonald, Ahsan S. Mansur, and Mr. Bernard Nivollet

Abstract

Most of the seven major industrial countries are now experiencing significant changes in their demographic structure. A persistent pattern of declining fertility and improving life expectancy has created major segments of the population that are already relatively aged or will become so in the near future. This paper examines the impact of prospective demographic trends on the level and structure of social expenditure by the governments of the seven major industrial countries (the Group of Seven) through the year 2025.

Sheetal K. Chand and Mr. Albert Jaeger

Abstract

This paper discusses a study analyzing aging populations and public pension schemes. An aging society is characterized by a growing proportion of the retired to the active working population. The study examines the pension-related aging problem primarily from a fiscal perspective. It analyzes how prospective demographic developments that affect the proportion of the pensionable elderly affect pension outlays. It confirms that very serious fiscal stresses are in prospect for most industrial economies. Addressing such problems satisfactorily will require major actions early, given the long lead times involved in reforming a pension fund's financial position.