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[Vol.23 No.3] Demographic Change and Long Term Trend of Inflation: The Case of South Korea

Group :
Economic Research Institute 2017.09.29 3362

Author: Hwan Koo Kang(BOK)


Since the global financial crisis, long term trend of global inflation remains low in spite of  the fact that major developed countries implemented long-lasting intensively accommodating policies. One possible explanation is that demographic change such as population aging has affected the long term trend of inflation. Japanese ‘lost decades’ could be a persuasive evidence of the effect of demographic change on long term inflation.

Recent literature on this topic provides much evidence that population aging could affect growth and inflation rate through the various and complicated channels such as labor supply, savings rate, real wage, labor productivity, asset prices and fiscal burdens. However, a unified conclusion is not reached from the theoretical and empirical literature since the direction and extent of the effects are different from country to country depending on the stage and type of the demographic change. 

This study presents some simulation results based on a dynamic general equilibrium monetary model in which demographic changes are captured by the change of working population ratio. The simulation results show that in case of South Korea where the working population ratio is starting to decline from this year, the effect of population aging on long term trend of inflation is being realized since mid 2020’s as a weak but long-lasting downside pressure. 

These results tell us that the effects of demographic changes on long term inflation should be considered when making a long term inflation target. They also gives an implication that those effects could not be counter-acted by the short term demand management policy. As a result, it would be better to focus on the policies for structural reform to minimize the negative consequences of the demographic change.