In This Review

Aging, Economic Growth, and Old-Age Security in Asia
Aging, Economic Growth, and Old-Age Security in Asia
By Donghyun Park, Sang-Hyop Lee, and Andrew Mason
Edward Elgar Pub, 2012, 320 pp.

It is well known that the populations of China and Japan are aging. But this book shows that the same is true throughout Asia—except in the poorest countries, where life expectancies are low. According to the book’s authors, by 2050, the portion of Asians over age 65 will range from 14 percent, in India, to 38 percent, in Japan. In the United States, the figure will be about 20 percent. Even more remarkable is the speed of the transition: in many countries, the over-65 share of the population will double or even triple over the course of four decades. To deal with the implications of this change for economic growth and social dependency, the authors recommend that governments establish or strengthen pension and retirement saving systems. They suggest that some governments should stop trying to limit population growth and instead encourage more births. Retirement ages should be raised. Countries with relatively young populations, such as India and the Philippines, should take advantage of the productivity of younger cohorts by increasing educational opportunities and labor-market flexibility. Finally, they argue, loosened restrictions on labor migration would benefit everyone.