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BOK Working Paper No.2020-1, Impacts of Population Aging on Real Interest Rates

Economic Research Institute (82-2-759-5391) 2020.01.13 2953

Title : Impacts of Population Aging on Real Interest Rates
Author : Ohik Kwon(BOK), Myunghyun Kim(BOK)


Since the mid-1990s, Korea has been aging rapidly. At the same time, real interest rates have declined sharply. This paper studies whether population aging has contributed to the real interest rate decrease in Korea. We first present empirical evidence that increases in life expectancy and the old-age-dependency ratio, and a fall in population growth (i.e., the population aging), decrease real interest rates. Then we calibrate a life-cycle model to capture the features of the old-age-dependency ratio and population growth in Korea, and show that population aging accounts for about one third of the fall in real interest rates between 1995 and 2018. Furthermore, according to simulation results, increased life expectancy is more important than decreased population growth in affecting the real interest rate decrease during the period.