East-West Center analysis about population change and economic growth
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Population Change and Economic Growth in Asia: New Findings from the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) Project
by National Transfer Accounts Project

NTA Bulletin, no. 8 (Honolulu: National Transfer Accounts Project, November 2015)
8 pp.
Download PDF file free of charge

Population age structures are changing everywhere in the developing world, linked primarily to fertility decline, but nowhere have the changes been more rapid or dramatic than in Asia. And changing age structures can have a profound effect on wellbeing and economic growth.

How many consumers and producers are there in a population? How much do they earn and how much do they consume at every stage of life? To what extent do the elderly support themselves from assets acquired during their working years? And how do families and governments meet the needs of children and the elderly who consume more than they produce?

The National Transfer Accounts (NTA) project is bringing together data and developing analytical tools to help answer these important questions. By providing estimates of income, public and private transfers, and consumption and saving by age, NTA adds an important dimension to measures of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other widely used economic indicators.

Initiated in 2004, NTA has grown to a network of research scholars, graduate students, and government analysts in 47 countries around the world, including 12 countries and economies in Asia. Lead institutions are the Center for the Economics and Demography of Aging, University of California at Berkeley, and the East-West Center in Honolulu. Among many publications based on NTA analysis are an overview of results from 23 countries (Lee and Mason 2011) and a manual explaining the NTA methodology (United Nations 2013).

In 2014, the Asia Pacific Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA APRO) and the East-West Center launched a project to expand and update NTA analysis in Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Bangladesh and Malaysia joined the group later. The project includes national-level training, south-south exchange visits, NTA research-based policy briefs, and regional meetings showcasing best practices and progress, including comparisons with findings from other NTA member countries. This issue of the NTA Bulletin highlights early findings from this expansion of NTA analysis in the region. Note that some of the results reported here are preliminary and should be interpreted with caution.

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Past Titles in the NTA Bulletin Series

Human-Resource Development and Demographic Change in China
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 7 (October 2014)

Population Change and Economic Growth in Africa
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 6 (August 2013)

Lower-Income Countries and the Demographic Dividend
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 5 (December 2012)

How Well Do Societies Meet the Consumption Needs of All Age Groups?
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 4 (June 2012)

The Economic Consequences of Population Aging: Report on a Technical Policy Seminar
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 3 (December 2011)

Transferring Resources Between Age Groups: What Roles Do Governments Play?
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 2 (May 2011)

National Transfer Accounts: A New Way to Look at Population Change and Economic Growth
by National Transfer Accounts Project
NTA Bulletin, no. 1 (January 2011; revised September 2011)


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