Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 589–608 | Cite as

The importance of being mature: the effect of demographic maturation on global per capita GDP

  • Rafael Gómez
  • Pablo Hernández de CosEmail author


Given that savings behaviour and worker productivity have strong life-cycle components and given that demographic profiles vary across countries, population age structure should be linked to differences in levels of economic development. In this paper, we measure the economic importance of age structure variation for the global economy. We find that demographic maturation has been associated with nearly half of the evolution of global per capita GDP since 1960. We also find that age structure differences can account for just over half of the variation in worldwide per capita GDP (i.e. the lack of sigma convergence) observed since 1960.


Age structure Life-cycle model Cross-country growth 

JEL Classifications

J13 J24 O40 



We are particularly grateful to our anonymous referee(s) and the editorial guidance of Junsen Zhang. We are also grateful to Isabel Argimón, Susanto Basu, Cristina Barceló, Olympia Bover, Ignacio Hernando, Morley Gunderson, Eloísa Ortega, Gabriel Pérez Quirós and Javier Vallés for their suggestions and comments and all participants of the seminar at the Research Department of the Banco de España. The helpful research assistance of Wanja Eiche, Kenny Sandorffy and Konstantinos Tzioumis is greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.London School of EconomicsDepartment of ManagementLondonUK
  2. 2.Banco de España, European Central BankFrankfurt am MainGermany

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