Population Aging and the Possibility of a Middle-Income Trap in Asia

Publication | February 2018

This paper analyzes the possibility that Asia faces a middle-income trap due to demographic factors, and explores the link between fertility and the ratio of workers to consumers in the region's economic growth. 

What happens to Asia if it gets too old before getting rich? In this paper, the authors explore the possibility that Asia faces a middle-income trap due to demographic factors. They find that many economies in East, South, and Southeast Asia satisfy conditions for a demography-driven middle-income trap. Analyses show that support ratio—the ratio of workers to consumers—matters for economic growth. But as the economy grows, fertility declines, ultimately leading to low support ratios and a lower speed of convergence, creating conditions for economic stagnation.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Structure of Demography-Drive Middle-Income Trap
  • Testing for Conditions of Demography-Driven Middle-Income Trap
  • What National Transfer Accounts Tell About Demography-Driven Middle-Income Trap
  • Conclusion

Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Social development and protection
  • Aging and the Elderly
  • 28
  • 8.5 x 11
  • WPS189235-2
  • 2313-6537 (print)
  • 2313-6545 (electronic)

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