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Demographic change and labour markets.

Lisenkova, Katerina; McQuaid, Ronald W; Wright, Robert E


Katerina Lisenkova

Ronald W McQuaid

Robert E Wright


Two processes are expected to increasingly characterise demographic change in the 21st century in many countries: population ageing and potential population decline. Although there are links between population ageing and population decline, they will affect the labour market in different ways. As a population ages, so will its labour force, with an increasing share of older workers and a decreasing share of younger workers. Assuming no changes in age-specific labour force participation rates, population decline will result in a shrinking of the labour force, particularly in those where the female participation rates are already high. Developed and developing countries are going to be affected by these demographic processes in different ways during the next four or so decades. Both groups of countries are going to experience labour force ageing. However, the size of the potential labour force in developing countries will still increase significantly during this period, while it is likely to decline in many developed countries. To address the issue of increasing dependency associated with a potentially declining labour force, developed countries are likely to try to increase productivity and labour force participation rates, especially of older workers, as well as to use immigration to counteract labour force decline.


Lisenkova, K., McQuaid, R. W., & Wright, R. E. (2010). Demographic change and labour markets. Contemporary Social Science, 5, 243-259.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2010
Deposit Date May 3, 2011
Print ISSN 2158-2041
Electronic ISSN 2158-205X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Pages 243-259
Keywords Demographic change; population decline; aging; labour market; age-specific labour force;
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