No. 431 - The contribution of demography to Italy's economic growth: a two-hundred-year-long story

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by Federico Barbiellini Amidei, Matteo Gomellini and Paolo Piselli March 2018

This paper examines the contribution of demography to economic growth in Italy by comparing the country's past, present and future.

We use an accounting framework to decompose GDP and per capita GDP growth, and we show how changes in the age structure of the population produced a positive demographic dividend in the past. By contrast, in the last twenty-five years and arguably in the future, demography has made and will continue to make a direct negative contribution to economic growth. Expected migration flows will noticeably limit the extent of this negative contribution, but they will not be able to reverse its sign.

We analyze three possible developments, potentially driven by demography itself or fostered by policy actions - longer working lives, an increase in female labour market participation and higher education levels - which could counteract the pure negative accounting effects produced by the evolution of the age structure.

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