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Global Population Change & Economic Convergence of World Countries: Meaning and Implications for Global Inequality

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Cornell University
Sarah Giroux, Cornell University
Mila Cantar, Cornell University
Shoshanna Hoover, Cornell University
Kristie Lebeau, Cornell University
Kimberly Pollock, Cornell University
Clara Rice, Cornell University
Jenna Shelton, Cornell University
Michael Zhang, Cornell University

Our paper seeks to further refine the understanding of trends in between-country global inequality (IB) along two lines. First, we revisit the claim of convergence between countries. At issue is the distinction between statistical and sociological convergence: IB statistics can decline without a real sociological convergence of countries. This happens if the decline in IB is driven by a few influential outliers, while many countries are left behind. We use World Bank data and decomposition methods to examine the detailed experiences of individual world regions, to check if the global trend observed worldwide is replicated at the regional level. Then, for regions where Ib is declining, we examine how much this trend is (a) widely shared, (b) uniform, and (c) driven by progress among poor countries vs. regress of wealthier nations. Our second contribution is to refine empirical analyses of the effects of population on global inequality. While previous studies have focused on the role of population growth and relative size, we suggest that age structure is another (indeed more important) contribution. We use expanded decompositions that show the impact of age structure, specifically the relative size and productivity of the working-age population, in shaping between-country inequality.

Keywords: Decomposition analysis/methods, Inequality, Age structure, Multiregional demography

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 88. Demographic Trends: Estimates and Projections