Economic Policy in a Demographically Divided World

  • Hendrik P. van Dalen
Part of the Population Economics book series (POPULATION)


Practical questions of economic policy are sometimes solved by methods of Uncle Scrooge, in other words, by defining the problem away. The economic policy consequences of ageing are a case in point when it comes to solving problems by definition. The problem of financing expenditures on social security during periods of demographic change has until now been approached in a rather pragmatic way by governments and their advisers. The lowering of benefit levels, an increase of the retirement age, an increase of the social security premiums c.q. tax rates or simply the promotion of fertility, are all policy options which have far-reaching consequences for the intergenerational distribution of resources and economic growth. Of course, such solutions do not conform to economic principles but to principles of accounting. Foresight should be the essence of government. The principle of dynamic economic policy is that one has to make a choice between scarce means to achieve given ends over a certain planning horizon. Decisions about the choice of particular ends is not an economic subject, it belongs to the field of ethics in the case of normative questions and political science in the case of positive questions.


Fiscal Policy Population Growth Rate Public Debt Small Open Economy Closed Economy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin· Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hendrik P. van Dalen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematical EconomicsErasmus University RotterdamDR RotterdamThe Netherlands

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