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Citation Information

Type Journal Article
Title China’s older workers and structural change: a review of evidence and policy challenges
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
URL http://cepar.edu.au/media/166993/elisabetta-magnani.pdf
Abstract
As fertility rates decline and life expectancy increases, countries across the developed and the
developing world face the prospect of rapidly aging populations, increasing old dependency ratios
and declining youth dependency ratios. These demographic changes have fundamental implications
for economies, societies, families and individuals in low and middle income countries. In OECD
economies, population ageing has sparked the multiplication of calls for policies that support labour
market participation by older workers. As in OECD countries, the success of such policies in China
relies on our understanding of the determinants of older workers' labour force participation
decisions. In this paper I argue that the success of policies directed to boost labour force
participation by older workers cannot afford to neglect to investigate the determinants of older
workers labour demand. Evidence of a "discouraged worker effect" among Chinese older workers
due to deep structural change in the composition of output, in the role of State Own Enterprises
and in the structure of wages suggests that integrating labour demand with labour supply
interventions is paramount to address the issues of population and workforce ageing in a way that
takes into account individuals' and governments preferences and constraints as well as consideration
of how actual labour markets work.

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