CoPS/IMPACT Working Paper Number G-174

Title: Population Ageing, Labour Market Reform and Economic Growth in China - A Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis

Authors: Xiujian Peng and Yinhua Mai


The dramatic fertility decline since the beginning of 1970s has decelerated the growth of China's working age population. From 2015, this growth will turn sharply negative, resulting declining labour force in China. This has caused concerns about the sustainability of China's economic growth. This paper sheds lights on the view that a more efficient allocation of labour between sectors is likely counter balance the negative effect of populating ageing. Using a dynamic CGE model of China, we analyse the effects of removing labour market distortions that hinder the movement of labour from agricultural to manufacturing and services sectors over the period 2008 to 2020 in the context of declining growth of labour supply in China. Simulation results shows that removing the discriminations against rural workers in urban area will increase the labour shift from agricultural to non-agricultural sectors. The resulting increase in the movement of rural labour will mitigate the adverse effects of population ageing by raising not only the growth rate of total output but also household living standard. China can enjoy continued growth in its manufactured exports even with a slower growth in its labour force.

JEL classification: J21, J61, E17

Keywords: population ageing, labour market reform, rural migration, CGE model, China.

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