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Relative Sectoral Prices and Population Ageing: A Common Trend

Max Groneck and Christoph Kaufmann
University of Cologne, Working Paper Series in Economics No. 69, 2014

JEL codes: J11, F41, E39

Keywords: Demographic change, Relative price of non-tradables, Real ex- change rate

Demographic change raises demand for non-tradable old-age related services relative to tradable commodities. This demand shift increases the relative price of non-tradables and thereby causes real exchange rates to appreciate. We claim that the change in demand affects prices via imperfect intersectoral factor mobility. Using a sample of 15 OECD countries between 1970 and 2009, we estimate a robust increase of relative prices due to population ageing. Further findings confirm the relevance of imperfect factor mobility: Countries with more rigid labour markets experience stronger price effects.

Relative Sectoral Prices and Population Ageing: A Common Trend