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Growth and Demography in Turkey: Economic History vs. Pro-Natalist Rhetoric

Attar, M. Aykut (2013): Growth and Demography in Turkey: Economic History vs. Pro-Natalist Rhetoric.

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Abstract

This paper projects the effects of exogenous fertility changes in Turkey on the age structure of population and the standards of living using a semi-reduced-form model of economic growth and demographic change. Both the technological progress and the fertility rate are endogenous. The calibrated version of the model delivers three important results: First, technological progress will be the major source of economic growth in Turkey in the upcoming decades. Second, even with a non-declining saving rate, the population aging will result in a growth slowdown since technological progress is not fast enough in Turkey. Third, even under an increasing rate of technological progress, a permanent upward shift in fertility levels would imply, relative to the benchmark, a significantly lower level of output per capita, a remarkably higher level of dependent population, and a persistently lower share of the working-age population for many decades. These results suggest that the priority of policy-makers in Turkey should be technological progress. The pro-natalist rhetoric, even if it proves to be strong enough to persuade the people of Turkey to have more children in the near future, does not have any economic significance.

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