The Curse of Ageing

  • Jean-Hervé Lorenzi
  • Mickaël Berrebi


Japan is supremely well suited to the aphorism: ‘land of contrasts’. Japanese society has indeed experienced the fastest demographic ageing, due to its low birth rate and the exceptional longevity of its inhabitants. It is hard not to imagine a link between the very real weakening of an economy in the long term — a phase that has already lasted for twenty years — and the demographic impact so perfectly illustrated by Japan. The most surprising aspect of this intriguing development, which may represent both a positive and a negative, is the fact that the economic structure of this country reflects a dual constraint, one conjectural, the other structural. Firstly, there is an income distribution that would be hard to change and that favours capital over labour while blocking any increase in internal demand. Even worse, as the eminent Japanese demographer Shigesato Takahashi reminds us, ‘the decline in the rate of fertility is closely linked to the change in the work force […]. The number of young women in the job market has increased, especially in the service sector. […]


Productivity Gain Ageing Society Average Annual Growth Rate Exceptional Longevity Intergenerational Conflict 
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Copyright information

© Jean-Hervé Lorenzi and Mickaël Berrebi 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Hervé Lorenzi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mickaël Berrebi
    • 3
  1. 1.Paris-Dauphine UniversityFrance
  2. 2.Le Cercle des EconomisteFrance
  3. 3.France

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