No country for young men

Vegard Skirbekk, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Marcin Stonawski, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Cracow University of Economics
Warren C. Sanderson, Stony Brook University, State University of New York (SUNY)

We review trends in the relative economic situation of young working-age men over time in the developed world, and we produce new estimates of changes in their relative incomes over the last few decades. We present evidence that, at least over the past two decades, there has been generalized deterioration in the relative economic conditions of young working-age males in developed countries. In the US, for example, men 25-34 years old with tertiary education who were employed full-time earned 11 percent less in real terms in 2000-2005 than they did in 1979-89. The economic conditions of these young working-age men are important because they are at the prime ages for finding employment, the establishment of long-run career paths and building an economic basis for founding a family. Men’s incomes seem particularly important for couples’ decisions to enter parenthood even in rich, egalitarian countries. Relatively low incomes among young men can have several consequences, including the ‘scarring’ effects on economic performance (lower wages throughout the working life) and depressed family outcomes (postponed and lowered fertility).

  See paper

Presented in Session 106: Ageing and wealth