World Scientific
  • Search
Skip main navigation

Cookies Notification

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By continuing to browse the site, you consent to the use of our cookies. Learn More

System Upgrade on Tue, May 28th, 2024 at 2am (EDT)

Existing users will be able to log into the site and access content. However, E-commerce and registration of new users may not be available for up to 12 hours.
For online purchase, please visit us again. Contact us at [email protected] for any enquiries. by:1 (Source: Crossref)
This article is part of the issue:

Since the 1970s, due to the combination of the declining birthrate and rising longevity, the speed of population aging in Japan has been more dramatic than in any other developed country. Consequently, the growth of the working population, which had been faster than the growth of the total population, has gradually become slower in recent years than the latter in Japan. Moreover, similar rapid demographic changes are taking place at various speeds in all prefectures. By introducing demographic variables into empirical models of regional economic growth, which is based on prefecture-level panel data for the period 1980–2010, this paper shows that the recent demographic changes in Japan have had significant effects on its regional economic growth: the contribution of the growth rate difference between the working population and the total population to per capita Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) growth rate, i.e., the demographic bonus, has disappeared. In addition, the growth rate of the aged population (65 years old and over) has had a very significant negative effect on per capita GRDP growth rate, while the growth rate of the young population aged 0–14 has had a significant positive effect. The findings of this study imply that Japan’s population aging and other ongoing demographic changes will continue to depress economic growth in all prefectures. Given the low probability of a significant rise in the birth rate and the rapid increase in the local labor supply, it is important for all prefectures in Japan to raise the quality of their labor-force and improve productivity. Meanwhile, effectively attracting young skilled workers to migrate from other regions/countries should be a key policy issue for both local and central governments in Japan.

JEL Classification: O47, O53, R58, J11


  • Alonso, W [1980] Five bell shapes in development. Papers of the Regional Science Association, 45, 5–16. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
  • Barro, RJ [1991] Economic growth in a cross section of countries. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 106(2), 407–443. Crossref, Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Barro, RJ (1997). Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study, Development Discussion Paper No. 579, Harvard Institute for International Development. Google Scholar
  • Barro, RJ and X Sala-i-Martin [1992] Convergence. Journal of Political Economy, 100(2), 223–251. Crossref, Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Barro, RJ and X Sala-i-Martin [1995] Economic Growth, New York: McGraw-Hill. Google Scholar
  • Bloom, DE and JG Williamson [1998] Demographic transitions and economic miracles in emerging Asia. World Bank Economic Review, 12(3), 419–455. Crossref, Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Bloom, DE, D Canning and G Fink (2011). Implications of Population Aging for Economic Growth, PGDA Working Paper, No. 64, Available at: Google Scholar
  • Bloom, DE, D Canning, G Fink and JE Finlay [2009] Fertility, female labor force participation, and the demographic dividend. Journal of Economic Growth, 14(2), 79–101. Crossref, Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Bloom, DE, D Canning and J Sevilla (2003). The Demographic Dividend: A New Perspective on the Economic Consequences of Population Change, Population Matters Monograph MR-1274, 54: 92-114, RAND, Santa Monica. Google Scholar
  • Bloom, DE, D Canning and P Malaney [2000] Demographic change and economic growth in Asia. Population and Development Review, 105(3), 319–338. Google Scholar
  • Cabinet Office (2013). Outline of Aging Society Measures. Google Scholar
  • Cabinet Office (various years). Annual Report on Prefectural Accounts. (Http://, Downloaded on May 21, 2013). Google Scholar
  • European Commission (2010). Green paper: Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems. Available at: Google Scholar
  • Gruber, J and D Wise [1998] Social security and retirement: An international comparison. The American Economic Review, 88(2), 158–163. Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Hyclark, T [1996] Structural changes in labor demand and unemployment in local labor markets. Journal of Regional Science, 36(4), 658–661. Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Hatta, T (ed.) (2018). Economic Challenges Facing Japan’s Regional Areas. Singapore: Palgrave Pivot. Google Scholar
  • Itoh, T and R Bando [1987] Fertility change of the year of “Hinoe-uma”. Jinko Mondai Kenkyu (Journal of Population Problems), 181, 31–43, (in Japanese). Google Scholar
  • Japan Business Federation (2008). How economic society responds to population decline. Available at: Google Scholar
  • Kelley, AC and RM Schmidt [1995] Aggregate population and economic growth correlations: The role of the components of demographic change. Demography, 32(4), 543–555. Crossref, Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Kelley, AC and RM Schmidt [2005] Evolution of recent economic-demographic modeling: A synthesis. Journal of Population Economics, 18(2), 275–300. Crossref, Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar
  • Kinugasa, T [2002] Contribution of demographic variables on economic growth: Empirical analysis of Japanese prefecture data. Journal of Economics and Business Administration, 186(4), 95–108, (in Japanese). Google Scholar
  • Kinugasa, T [2006] Demographic change and economic growth in Japan. The Annals of Economic Study, Kobe University, 53, 87–106, (in Japanese). Google Scholar
  • Mason, A (1997). Population and Asian economic miracle. Asia-Pacific Population & Policy, 43 (October), pp. 1–4. Google Scholar
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) (2005). Chapter 3: Japan’s declining birthrate, declining population and economic integration aimed at new economic prosperity in East Asia. Available at: Google Scholar
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Statistics Bureau (various years). Population Census. Google Scholar
  • National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (2014). Selected demographic indicator for Japan. Available at: Google Scholar
  • Obayashi, M (1982). Historical background of the acceptance of induced abortion. Josanpu Zasshi, 36(12), 1011–1016. Retrieved April 12, 2006. Google Scholar
  • OECD (2016). Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries (DIOC2010/11), Available at: Data extracted on 15 Mar 2016. Google Scholar
  • Oizumi, K (2012). Relationship between population dynamics and economic growth — focusing on population bonus theory. In Coexistence with a Declining Birthrate and Aged Society in Developing Countries, Oizumi and Oyamada (eds.) (Survey Report of Institute of Developing Economy), Chiba, Japan: IDE, pp. 11–30. Google Scholar
  • Okazaki, Y (1972). The demographic transition and fertility decline in Japan, Institute of Population Problems, English pamphlet series No. 77, pp. 1–14. Google Scholar
  • Solow, RM (1957). Technical change and the aggregate production function. Review of Economics and Statistics (The MIT Press), 39(3), 312–320. Google Scholar
  • Statistics Bureau of Japan (2011). Summary of the results of internal migration in 2010. Available at: Google Scholar
  • Statistics Bureau of Japan (various years). Japan Statistical Yearbook. Tokyo: Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Google Scholar
  • Steven, CR, J-W Lee and J Sachs (1997). Economic Growth in Asia, Harvard Institute for International Development, Harvard University, pp. 1–68. Google Scholar
  • Tabuchi, T (1988). Interregional income differential and migration: Their interrelationships. Regional Studies, 22, 1–10. Available at: Google Scholar
  • Tabuchi, T (2013). Historical trends of agglomeration to the capital region and new economic geography, Regional Science of Urban Economics, pp. 1–27, Amsterdam, Elsevier. Google Scholar
  • The House of Representatives (Shūgiin), Japan (1948). Eugenic Protection Law (Yusei Hogo Ho). Available at: Google Scholar
  • World Bank [2003] World Development Report 2003. Sustainable Development in a Dynamic World: Transforming Institutions, Growth, and Quality of Life, New York: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  • World Bank (2009). World Development Report 2009; Reshaping Economic Geography, Available at: Google Scholar
  • World Economic Forum (2004). Living happily ever after: The economic implications of aging societies. Executive Summary of a Report to the World Economic Forum Pension Readiness Initiative. Geneva: World Economic Forum. Google Scholar