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Demographic Change Across the Globe
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Marga Peeters & Loek Groot, World Economics, June 2012
This paper investigates the fiscal pressure, or the level of public expenditure on old and young economically inactive people, arising from demographic change in relation to the labour market space, or the proportion of the working age population not in full-time employment. The exercise is carried out for 50 countries that cover 75% of the world population. The pressure-to-space indicator ranks Poland, Turkey and Greece high, although, apart from Turkey and India, developing countries generally rank low due to low spending on the old (pensions, healthcare) and on the young (education, family costs). Peculiarly, economies with higher pressure have more space. The hypothesis that ageing economies have started using their labour market space in anticipation of higher demographic pressure is rejected. It is important to note that raising the retirement age in developed economies by five years alleviates fiscal pressure by almost 30% and creates 10% more labour market space.
Measuring Nations’ Economic Performance
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F. Gerard Adams, World Economics, December 2009
The Report of the Commission on Economic Performance and Social Progress considers the issues of establishing a broader measure of human well-being than the per capita GDP currently used. The report evaluates the possibilities for expanding the GDP concept and other measures of well-being, and for evaluating sustainability. The Commission recognises that it will not be possible to rely on one measure, recommending the use of a dashboard of various measures, including adjusted net saving.
What Do We Know About the Shadow Economy?
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Friedrich Schneider, World Economics, December 2001
Estimates of the size of the shadow economy in 21 OECD countries are presented. The average size of the shadow economy (as a percentage of ‘official’ GDP) over 1999/2000 in these countries is 16.7%. The author concludes that it is the increasing burden of taxation and social security contributions, combined with rising state regulatory activities, that are the driving forces for the recent growth in size of the shadow economy in the countries concerned.
Poles Apart
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Paul Gregg, Kirstine Hansen & Jonathan Wadsworth, World Economics, June 2000
Analysis of labour market performance using individual level data can reach radically different conclusions to those provided by a household-based analysis, using the same source of information. In Britain and other OECD countries the number of households without access to earned income has grown despite rising employment rates. Built around a comparison of the actual jobless rate in households with that which would occur if work were randomly distributed, the authors show that work is becoming increasingly polarised in many countries. Changing household structure can only account for a minority of the rise in workless households, so that labour market failure is the dominant explanation. Polarisation of work will have important welfare and budgetary consequences for any country.

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