Ageing and Productivity An Exploratory Analysis of the Portuguese Case

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Mariana Monteiro
Marta C. N. Simões


The Portuguese labour force is ageing rapidly, corresponding to an increase in the share of older cohorts in the workforce, and there are no prospects that this situation will slow down. This study carries out an empirical analysis of the impact of workforce ageing on labour productivity in the Portuguese economy considering data for the period 1971-2017. We investigate the main channels through which these demographic changes affect labour productivity, the accumulation of factors of production, physical or human capital, and total factor productivity (TFP), based on a Cobb-Douglas production function. The results from the estimation of our VAR model defined according to the aggregate production function that includes the capital-output ratio, educational attainment, TFP and an indicator of workforce ageing, and the corresponding impulse-response functions analysis do not allow us to identify any impact of the growth rate in the proportion of older workers on the growth rate of labour productivity. For the time being it thus seems that workforce ageing has not posed a serious threat to the Portuguese economy, but this situation could rapidly change in the near future given the dismal demographic forecasts that project that the Portuguese population will decrease from 10.5 millions of people in 2012 to 8.6 millions in 2060 (INE 2014).

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