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Cities of Workers, Children, or Seniors Age Structure and Economic Growth in a Global Cross-Section of Cities (English)

A large literature documents the positive influence of a city's skill structure on its rate of economic growth. By contrast, the effect of a city's age structure on its economic growth has been a hitherto largely neglected area of research. This paper hypothesizes that cities with more working-age adults are likely to grow faster than cities with more children or seniors. The paper sets out the potential channels through which such differential growth may occur. Using data from a variety of historical and contemporary sources, it shows that there exists marked variation in the age structure of the world's largest cities, across cities and over time. It then studies how age structure affects economic growth for a global cross-section of mega-cities. Using various identification strategies, the analysis finds that mega-cities with higher dependency ratios, that is, with more children and/or seniors per working-age adult, grow significantly slower. Such effects are particularly pronounced for cities with high shares of children. This result appears to be driven mainly by the direct, negative effects of a higher dependency ratio on the size of the working-age population and the indirect effects on work hours and productivity for working-age adults within a city.


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    Jedwab,Remi Camille, Pereira,Daniel, Roberts,Mark

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    Policy Research Working Paper

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    The World Region,

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    Cities of Workers, Children, or Seniors? Age Structure and Economic Growth in a Global Cross-Section of Cities

  • Keywords

    Canadian Journal of Economics; long-run effect; Demographic and Health Survey; international earth science information network; age structure; dependency ratio; population-weighted mean; long-run growth; labor force participation rate; accident analyses; human capital and growth; effect on population growth; remote sensing; lower population growth rate; city economic development; city economic growth; working age adults; limited information; metropolitan statistical area; time use survey; share of children; per capita income; number of births; educational attainment variable; disaster risk management; department of economics; local health systems; neoclassical growth model; central business district; per capita basis; care of child; product of labor; urban economic growth; natural population growth; effect on health; high fertility rate; fast population growth; second world war; slow population growth; per capita term; country fixed effect; spread of idea; experienced worker; data on income; family planning policy; household survey data; human capital accumulation; national family planning; world development indicator; aggregate labor market; high opportunity cost; work long hour; human capital outcomes; data collection effort; Local Economic Development; population and environment; impact of population; business cycle volatility; cities and development; urban agglomeration economy; relationship between population; economics research; Population and Development; population by age; term of data; representative household surveys; labor force survey; light intensity; negative effect; city population; population share; secondary city; rural area; household effects; standard error; peripheral area; young child; household level; population size; high share; agglomeration effect; econometric analysis; Learning and Innovation Credit; hourly wage; labor supply; old children; land area; high ratio; knowledge exchange; consumer service; Time of Use; public expenditure; per household; monthly wage; Rural Sector; time allocation; job training; urban work; low wage; Public Services; household size; working-age population; urban population; metropolitan area; city boundary; college graduate; panel regression; ppp terms; worker productivity; world population; economic study; census data; Economic Studies; public use; children of ages; Population Aging; rural population; richer countries; descriptive statistic; national population; age category; log change; city area; small cities; free mobility; baseline regression; low earnings; point estimate; Political Economy; reduced work; euclidean distance; Public Infrastructure; business service; other sectors; carbon emission; productivity gain; household saving; international income; learning effect; saving rate; demographic composition; knowledge spillover; labor productivity; skill structure; old age; retirement community; care system; agricultural sector; several reasons; high wage; public capital; positive correlation; work schedule; natural disaster; high-speed train; change in income; spatial effect; increase productivity; Public Facilities; weight ratio; working day; causal effect; urban growth; low share; spatial resolution; migration restrictions; macroeconomic consequence; fertility reduction; research agenda; aging population; age composition; young population; wage data; satellite image; capital dilution; future research; recreational services; upper bind; sample period; Urban Resilience; detail level; sectoral growth; child work; nominal wage; small sample; sample representative; base year; core city; subsequent growth; consumption pattern; exclusion restriction; entertainment industry; mean growth; potential implication; endogenous variable; older individual; urban resident; educational level; baseline estimates; university study; university degree; robustness check; similar age; fewer child; housing cost; fewer people; high mortality; advanced country; individual life; median country



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Jedwab,Remi Camille Pereira,Daniel Roberts,Mark

Cities of Workers, Children, or Seniors Age Structure and Economic Growth in a Global Cross-Section of Cities (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9040 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.