National Transfer Accounts: Understanding the Generational Economy

The goal of the National Transfer Accounts (NTA) project is to improve understanding of how population growth and changing population age structure influence economic growth, gender and generational equity, public finances, and other important features of the macro-economy. Research teams in more than 60 countries are constructing accounts that measure how people at each age produce, consume, and share resources, and save for the future. These accounts are designed to complement the UN System of National Accounts, population data, and other important economic and demographic indicators.

The NTA project is shedding light on many areas of importance to policymakers:

  • Public policy on pensions, health care, education, and reproductive health
  • Social institutions, such as the extended family
  • The full economic contribution of women
  • Social, political, and economic implications of population aging

US lifecycle Triangle
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Workshop Everyone

What's New

Submit Abstracts for NTA 12 Mexico City

The 12th Global Meeting of the NTA Network will be hosted by CONAPO and held in Mexico City in July 2018 (exact date to be announced soon). Please submit abstracts at your earliest convenience. Deadline is March 15. The preferred method for submitting abstracts is to use the google form that was emailed to NTA members or can be accessed through this link:

Please let us know through CONTACT NTA if you have any problems.

Workshop on Effective Use of Data for Policy Making on Aging, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 5-7 December 2017

NTA Group Photo

The NTA working group for Asia and the Pacific held a Workshop on the Effective Use of Data for Policy Making on Aging from 5-6 December 2017 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The workshop brought together about 100 participants from 20 participating countries and three international and regional organizations. Participants included academic experts, government officials, parliamentarians, and representatives from civil society and international organizations.

Workshop presentations, agenda, participants

New Results for Moldova

With support from UNFPA-Moldova, Expert-Grup has completed NTA estimates and a comprehensive analysis of the demographic dynamics in the Moldova economy. The report and a NTA dashboard are available here: Outside Publications that Feature NTA Results

New Global Demographic Dividend Estimates

New estimates of demographic dividends for 166 countries around the world are now available. The estimates were constructed in cooperation with the United Nations Population Division in conjunction with the 50th United Nations Commission on Population and Development. More information including downloadable data are available here: Dividend Data

Demographic Dividend and African Development: 11th Global Meeting of the NTA Network, Dakar and Saly, Senegal, 20-24 June 2016

Dionne Dakar The 11th Global NTA Meeting began on 20 June 2016 with a one-day High Level Symposium on the Demographic Dividend and Development in Africa. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Mahammad Boune Abdallah Dionne, opened the Symposium, which took place in Dakar, Senegal. In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister recommended improving policies and increasing investment in youth employment. The Prime Minister was joined by former African presidents, ministers, leading scholars, community and religious leaders, and representatives of key regional institutions to review evidence and to discuss action needed to capitalize on the demographic dividend in Africa. Regional and global institutions represented included the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations Population Program (UNFPA), the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations. More information about the Dakar High-level Symposium and the Saly NTA Conference

Counting Women's Work Project

CWW1 CWWlogo This NTA project has developed methods for using time-use data to estimate the monetary value of unpaid services produced and consumed by gender and age groups. Combining estimates for the market and the household with the age dimension in a cross-national comparative context will bring women’s total economic contributions into view and establishes sound terms of public discussion and policy debate around issues of gender and the economy. For more information see NTA Bulletin 11: Counting Women's Work: Measuring the Gendered Economy in the Market and at Home and the CWW website.

Recent NTA Publications

NTA Bulletin 12: Sharing the Demographic Dividend: Findings from Low- and Middle-Income Countries in Asia

NTA Bulletin 2011-1 Recent work by NTA teams in Asia has shed light on how both the contributions and benefits associated with population change are shared-—among age groups, between genders, among income groups, and between urban and rural residents. Better insights into these distributional issues can help policymakers maximize the potential of demographic change to stimulate economic growth and reduce the disparities among population groups.

Download PDF: NTA Bulletin 12

All issues of the NTA Bulletin

Second National Transfer Accounts Data Sheet: August 2016

2016 Data Sheet NTA's second data sheet provides estimates of 23 variables for 59 countries in Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Estimates cover per capita consumption by children and the elderly, support ratios, fiscal support ratios, human-capital spending, labor income of young adults, and sources of economic support for children and the elderly.

PDF file: NTA Data Sheet 2016
Excel file: NTA Data Sheet 2016 excel

NTA Bulletin 11: Counting Women's Work: Measuring the Gendered Economy in the Market and at Home, January 2017

NTA Bulletin 2011-1 The Counting Women’s Work (CWW) initiative is measuring the full economic contribution of women, including paid work in the marketplace and unpaid care and housework at home. This issue of the NTA Bulletin describes the project and reports some illustrative results from Ghana, Mexico, Senegal, the United States, and Vietnam. These examples demonstrate how CWW analysis makes it possible to quantify the differences between men and women in market work and wages, the excess total work time that most women spend relative to men, the potential barrier that household responsibilities represent to women’s education and career development, and the “hidden” costs of children.

Download PDF: NTA Bulletin 11

All issues of the NTA Bulletin

For a more complete list of NTA publications, go to the Publications section.

Recent Scholarly Publications by NTA Members

Narayana, M.R. (2017). Universal social pension for elderly individuals in India: Public expenditure requirements and fiscal sustainability. Indian Growth and Development Review. 10(2):89-116.

Abstract: Public expenditure requirements for the universal social pension scheme (USPS) scenarios are remarkably higher than current expenditure on the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS). Short-term analyses offer economic justifications for an increase in pension benefits either by a single adjustment factor or combined adjustment factors. Long-term analyses show that the IGNOAPS and proposed USPS scenarios are fiscally sustainable but sensitive to five parameters (productivity growth, inflation rate, discount rate, income elasticity public pension expenditure and income elasticity of health expenditure).

Temple, Jeromey B., James Mahmud Rice, and Peter F. McDonald (2017). Mature age labour force participation and the life cycle deficit in Australia: 1981-82 to 2009-10. The Journal of the Economics of Ageing. 10: 21-33.

Abstract: With inexorable population ageing, successive Australian governments have sought to implement policies, on both the production and consumption side, that place a greater onus on older citizens to be financially self-sufficient as a means of offsetting costs due to ageing. Over the previous 30 years, a time of considerable labour market growth and policy change, mature-age labour force participation increased significantly in Australia. In this paper, we utilise the National Transfer Accounts methodology to examine the impact that the increases in mature-age labour force participation have had on the Life Cycle Deficit – the difference between what age groups consume and what they produce through their own labour. We expected and found that the age entering the life cycle deficit is strongly influenced by changing patterns of mature-age labour force participation. Both cross-sectional and cohort analyses show that over this 30-year time horizon, the ages at which the life cycle deficit moves from positive to negative territory and vice versa have gradually increased over time. The growth in mature-age labour force participation since the turn of this century has led to large increases in mature-age labour income, the most important effect of which appears to have been a substantial increase in private saving by mature-age Australians. Implications of a recent slowing in mature-age labour force participation in Australia are discussed.

Dramani, Latif and Oga, Idossou Jean-Bapiste (2017). Understanding demographic dividends in Africa: The NTA approach, Journal of Demographic Economics, doi:10.1017/dem.2016.30.

Lee, Ronald, and Andrew Mason (2017). Cost of Aging. Finance & Development. (International Monetary Fund's quarterly publication). 54(1): 7-9.

Summary: As populations age and grow more slowly, GDP and national income growth will most certainly slow down, but the effect on individuals—-as measured by per capita income and consumption—-may be quite different. Whether population aging is good or bad for an economy defies simple answers. The extent of the problem will depend on the severity of population aging and how well public policy adjusts to new demographic realities.

Vargha, Lili, Robert Ivan Gal, and Michele O. Crosby-Nagy (2017). Household production and consumption over the life cycle: National Time Transfer Accounts in 14 European countries. Demographic Research. 36(32): 905-44.

Summary: We show that the nonmarket economic life cycle of men differs from that of women. The gender gap in household production is not evenly distributed over the life cycle. Women of working age contribute the most in net terms, while the main beneficiaries of household goods and services are children and to a lesser extent adult men. These patterns are similar across countries, with variations in the gender- and age-specific levels of home production and consumption.

For a more complete list of scholarly publications by NTA members, go to the Publications section.

NTA Classics

NTA Manual cover Population Aging Generational Economy cover
NTA Manual. Population aging and the generational economy.
Ronald Lee and Andrew Mason, principal authors and editors

For a more complete list of NTA publications, go to the Publications section.

Other Publications that Feature NTA Analysis

2015-2016 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Global Monitoring Report

GMR cover The 2015-2016 World Bank and International Monetary Fund Global Monitoring Report (GMR) focused on demographic trends that will impact future economic growth and development. Analyses of NTA data took center stage in the discussion of how changing population age structures shape development trajectories in many countries. GMR 2015/2016 link, and online snippets are available HERE.

Website on the Demographic Dividend

A website, co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Population Reference Bureau, prominently features NTA's work on the Demographic Dividend in Africa. The objective is to host resource materials available from a number of organizations engaged in research, advocacy, and policy work related to the demographic dividend. Organizations are encouraged to share their collective and individual contributions to the research literature and base of policy communication materials on the demographic dividend by emailing either a link or a PDF file.

Demographic Dividend website

Video featuring NTA work on the Demographic Dividend

The Graying of the American Economy: Fiscal Math Is Daunting: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's 2015 Annual Report

Gretchan Donehower provided NTA information to the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank on taxes and social contributions paid and public benefits received by age. Two NTA charts are featured in the on-line write-up of the bank's 2015 annual report.

Recent NTA Meetings

NTA: Principles, Methodology, and Construction, Moscow NRU HSE, 20-22 June 2017

A Workshop on National Transfer Accounting: Principles, methodology, and the main problems of construction was organized in Moscow on 20-22 June 2017. It was held at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The participants represented 12 countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

NTA Conference in Europe: Selected Presentations Available

The Hungarian Demographic Research Institute recently hosted a conference on National Transfer Accounts as part of the European FP7 AGENTA project funded by the European Commission. All presentations from the open session of this 3rd AGENTA Project Meeting, held in Budapest on 9 March 2017, are available online. More information about the Agenta Project is also available.

For more information about NTA meetings, go to the Meetings section.

NTA in the News: Recent Articles

8 July 2017: The Economist special report on aging and longevity draws on NTA analysis

Two articles in this special report quote NTA members Andrew Mason and Ronald Lee:

A fuller list of media coverage of NTA is at NTA in the news

The website was developed and is maintained by SchemeArts.








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