NTA Bulletin

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The National Transfer Accounts (NTA) project addresses the impact of demographic change on economic growth, inequality, public finances, and the economic resources available to children and the elderly. The project includes research teams in 35 countries, with core activities based at the East-West Center and the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging at the University of California, Berkeley. By providing estimates of income, consumption, saving, and other resource flows for each age group, NTA adds an important dimension to measures of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other widely used indicators that are critical for formulating economic policy.

In 2011, the NTA project initiated the NTA Bulletin, a series of short publications that summarize the results of NTA research for a broad policy audience. This series is produced with support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 13
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    What do we learn when we "count women's work?"
    (Honolulu, HI : National Transfer Accounts, East-West Center, 2018-03) National Transfer Accounts Project
    Standard measures of economic activity leave out one extremely important component of production and consumption―the unpaid care and household services most often provided by women. Unpaid services―such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for children and the elderly―add considerable value both to family welfare and to national economic output. Adding unpaid services to measures of economic activity shows that women are not an "untapped" source of labor. Policymakers looking to increase female participation in the formal labor market need to keep in mind that women are already working as much or more than men. In some societies, the time that adolescent girls and young women spend on unpaid housework may be limiting the time they have available to pursue an education. Taking account of unpaid care and housework substantially increases the cost of raising children but also shows that the elderly, who often contribute substantially to care and housework, are not as heavy a burden on their families as sometimes suggested.
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    Sharing the demographic dividend : findings from low- and middle-income countries in Asia
    (Honolulu, HI : National Transfer Accounts, East-West Center, 2017-12) National Transfer Accounts Project
    Recent work by NTA teams in Asia has shed light on how both the contributions and benefits associated with population change are shared-—among age groups, between genders, among income groups, and between urban and rural residents. Better insights into these distributional issues can potentially help policymakers maximize the potential of demographic change to stimulate economic growth and reduce the disparities among population groups.
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    Counting women's work : measuring the gendered economy in the market and at home
    (Honolulu, HI : National Transfer Accounts, East-West Center, 2017-01) National Transfer Accounts Project
    The Counting Women's Work (CWW) initiative is measuring the full economic contribution of women, including paid work in the marketplace and unpaid care and housework at home. This issue of the NTA Bulletin describes the project and reports some illustrative results from Ghana, Mexico, Senegal, the United States, and Vietnam. These examples demonstrate how CWW analysis makes it possible to quantify the differences between men and women in market work and wages, the excess total work time that most women spend relative to men, the potential barrier that household responsibilities represent to women's education and career development, and the "hidden" costs of children.
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    Population change and the economic security of older people in Asia
    (Honolulu, HI : National Transfer Accounts, East-West Center, 2016-09) National Transfer Accounts Project
    Populations are growing older everywhere in the world, but the pace of population aging in Asia is unprecedented, primarily linked to rapid fertility decline. Asia's rapid population aging has led to policy concerns about how the region's growing elderly populations will be cared for and supported. How many of today's elderly remain in the workforce, and how much do they earn? To what extent do they support themselves from assets acquired during their working years? How do families and governments meet the needs of elderly people who consume more than they produce? And what does the future hold? Analysis by the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) project suggests that capital accumulation can potentially make a strong contribution toward meeting the needs of Asia's growing elderly populations. If the needs of the elderly are met through greater reliance on saving during the working years, then population aging will lead to an increase in assets that also has favorable implications for economic growth. Investment in human capital is another important response to population aging. Improvements in the productivity of each worker--fostered by investment in child health and education--can help maintain economic growth even as the working-age population shrinks relative to the elderly. The sheer speed and scale of population aging in Asia add a sense of urgency as policymakers start planning for a grayer future. Leaders would do well to learn from the policy mistakes of advanced economies, including fiscally unsustainable pension systems and rigid requirements for early retirement. Once inappropriate old-age support programs become entrenched, they become politically very difficult to reverse. By contrast, programs that invest in children's health and education and foster capital accumulation will ensure support for tomorrow's elderly populations while sustaining economic growth that benefits everyone.
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    National Transfer Accounts and demographic dividends
    (Honolulu, HI : National Transfer Accounts, East-West Center, 2016-07) National Transfer Accounts Project
    Demographic dividends are economic benefits that arise from changes in population age structure and from other demographic forces, enhancing opportunities for economic development. As falling fertility results in fewer dependent children relative to workers, a country experiences a first demographic dividend, with resources becoming available to increase investments and raise standards of living. The economic boost can be substantial, but it eventually comes to an end as the smaller population of children grows up to become a smaller population of workers while the number of elderly keeps growing. Depending on the choices made by families and the policies pursued by governments, however, the first dividend can direct more resources into pro-growth investment, resulting in a second, more long-lasting, demographic dividend. National Transfer Accounts (NTA) analysis over the past few years points to two important channels through which this occurs. For one thing, changing demography can lead to higher rates of saving and investment. A working-age population facing a long period of retirement has a powerful incentive to accumulate assets. The second channel is through human-capital investment. Countries with low fertility invest more in the education and health of each child, and the improved skills and capabilities of each worker can more than compensate for the slower growth of the work force. For the many countries currently experiencing a first demographic dividend, NTA can help understand how the benefits can be accelerated, prolonged, and directed toward important development goals. Other countries, which have completed the first dividend, can use NTA to understand how economic benefits can be sustained and how governments and families can best prepare for population aging.


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