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Growth, saving, and demography
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2000 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of three self-contained essays.

Essay 1 investigates the relationship between economic growth and the age composition of the population. The age distribution is seldom taken into consideration in macro-econometric papers in spite of the fact that established economic theories predict that demographic factors will affect the aggregate economy. This essay investigates empirically the influence of age variables on growth. Unlike recent papers on the subject, the focus here is on investigating the relationship on annual data for individual Scandinavian countries. Estimations of a typical growth specification, augmented with age variables, are run and the results indicate that economic growth is indeed affected by the age distribution, where the demographic structure catches the medium-run trend in the growth rate. The robustness of this finding is first checked by instrumental-variable regressions to control for the potential endogeneity of the economic variables, and then by running ridge regressions to mitigate the collinearity between the age variables.

Essay 2 focuses on the causality between saving and growth. The temporal interdependence between saving and output has been in focus in a number of recent empirical studies. Results from these studies have compelled some authors to question the traditional notion of a causal chain where saving leads growth through capital accumulation. This paper contributes to this literature. As opposed to the previous studies, which have mainly utilised panel-estimation methods, the tests of causal chains here are carried out in time-series settings. Saving and GDP are estimated in bivariate vector autoregressive or vector error-correction models for Sweden, the UK, and USA, and tests of Granger non-causality are performed within the estimated systems. The main results show that the causal chains linking saving and output differ across countries, and also that causality associated with adjustments to long-run relations might go in different directions than causality associated with short-term disturbances.

Essay 3 investigates life-cycle patterns in the asset allocation of Swedish households. Data on household portfolio allocation are collected from the HINK surveys for the period 1982-1992, and portfolio shares of different asset categories are regressed on age, period, and cohort dummies, as well as socio-economic and demographic variables. There are evident differences in the age profiles for the demand of different assets. The fraction of "risky" financial assets follows a hump-shaped age profile, as does the share of total real assets. While the probability of ownership of "safe" financial assets increases over life, the weight in the portfolio has a U-shaped age pattern. This is also true for the fraction of total financial assets. Furthermore, there are differences in the asset allocation of different birth cohorts; the portfolio weight of real assets is relatively higher for the "baby-boom" generation, while younger generations are more prone to invest in "risky" financial assets. Such differences in cohort behaviour are quite important to recognise in analyses of wealth accumulation and portfolio choice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2000. , 99 p.
Economic studies, ISSN 0283-7668 ; 52
Keyword [en]
Keyword [sv]
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1144ISBN: 91-87268-59-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1144DiVA: diva2:160693
Public defence
2000-11-03, Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2000-10-13 Created: 2000-10-13Bibliographically approved

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