Drivers of Labor Force Participation in Advanced Economies

A new IMF working paper finds “striking differences in the evolution of labor force participation across countries, and even more across groups of workers. While the heterogeneous timing and pace of the demographic transition can explain part of the divergent trends, other factors, including policies and differential exposure to the global forces of technological progress, are also at play.”

“The findings of this paper suggest that many countries so far successfully counteracted the negative forces of aging on aggregate labor force participation by strengthening the attachment of specific groups of workers to the labor force. Changes in labor market policies and institutions, together with structural changes and gains in educational attainment, account for the bulk of the increase in the labor force attachment of prime-age women and older workers in the past three decades. Conversely, technological advances, namely automation, while beneficial for the economy as a whole, weighed on labor supply of most groups of workers, and can partially explain declining prime-age male participation. Individual-level evidence confirm the significant impact of vulnerability to routinization, and that detachment from the labor force is significantly more likely among individuals whose current or past occupations are more vulnerable to automation. But encouragingly, higher spending on education and active labor market programs, and access to more diverse labor markets, tend to attenuate this negative effect, at least for prime-age workers.”

Posted by at 9:31 AM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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