FlyTitle: Ageing Europe

All of the rich world is ageing. But demography could tear Europe apart

富裕国家都在老龄化,但人口结构变化可能会分裂欧洲

经济学人双语版-老龄、富裕与分裂 Old, rich and divided

FOR BULGARIAN bosses, recruitment is becoming a bit of a nightmare. Finding a lathe operator—competent or otherwise— takes more than six months, and may require forking out cash to a recruitment agency. Older, savvier machine operators are retiring, complains Julian Stephanov, who runs a manufacturing firm near Sofia, and too few young people have the right skills. One problem is a lack of training. Another is that Bulgaria’s workforce has shrunk by 6% since 2008. Continued high emigration and low birth rates mean it is expected to fall by another third by 2050.

对于保加利亚的企业老板来说,招聘简直成了一场噩梦。招一名车床操作工(无论称职与否)需要六个多月的时间,可能还要付钱给职介所。年纪较大的熟练操作工纷纷退休,技能适配的年轻人少之又少,在首都索非亚(Sofia)附近经营一家制造公司的朱利安·斯蒂芬诺夫(Julian Stephanov)抱怨道。一个原因是培训不足。另一个原因是保加利亚的劳动人口自2008年以来减少了6%。外迁人数居高不下,出生率持续走低,预计到2050年劳动人口还要缩减三分之一。

All across Europe, people are living longer and having fewer children. The same trends are, of course, seen in other rich countries, and many developing ones—but coping with them will be harder in Europe, because of its half-formed union where workers can move freely and many countries share a currency, but where there is no common fiscal policy or strategy to deal with ageing.

欧洲各地的人口寿命都在延长,生育率也都在降低。当然,其他富裕国家和许多发展中国家也存在相同的趋势。但在欧洲,应对这些趋势会更加困难,因为欧洲的工会不健全,工人可以自由流动;许多国家共用一种货币,却没有共同的财政政策或战略来应对老龄化。

Investors are well aware of some of Europe’s shortcomings. The sovereign-debt crisis showed that converging inflation and interest rates did not, by themselves, ensure a sustainable currency union or integrated banking system. Wage bargaining, regulation and so on need to converge to stop imbalances between countries building up. Less well understood is that demography could also tear the union apart.

投资者都很清楚欧洲的某些不足。主权债务危机表明,只是让通胀和利率趋同并不能确保可持续的货币联盟或统一的银行体系。工资谈判、法规等都需要趋同,以阻止国家之间不断扩大的失衡。人们不太了解的是,人口结构也可能分裂欧盟。

Even though Europe receives more migrants than it loses, the UN projects that its population will fall by around 5% by 2050. By then the median European will be 47 years old, nine years older than at the turn of the century, and four years older than the median American. In 2015 there was about one person older than 65 for every four people of working age (ie, an old-age dependency ratio of around 25%). By 2050 there will be two, to America’s three.

尽管欧洲接收的移民数量超过其外迁人口的数量,但据联合国预测,到2050年,欧洲人口将减少5%左右。届时欧洲的中位年龄将为47岁,比本世纪之交时大九岁,比美国的中位年龄大四岁。2015年,欧洲每四个劳动年龄人口大约负担一名65岁以上老人(即老年人口抚养比约为25%),到2050年将变成两个负担一个,美国是三个负担一个。

Some countries will suffer even more. Spain and Italy are expected to lose more than a quarter of their workforce by 2050. Populations in the south and east are forecast to shrink by a tenth on average. With fewer workers, those countries risk seeing growth stagnate, even as rising spending on pensions and health services pushes up public debt.

一些国家的情况还将更严重。预计到2050年,西班牙和意大利的劳动人口将缩减超过四分之一。南欧和东欧的人口预计将平均缩减十分之一。随着劳动人口减少,这些国家在养老金和医疗服务支出增加推高公共债务的同时,还将面临增长停滞的风险。

The 28 members of the European Union fall into three broad groups. Women in northern and western countries tend to have more children than the EU average (Germany is an exception). Though their fertility rates are below the 2.1 needed to sustain a population, high immigration means their populations have still grown.

欧盟的28个成员国可分为三大类。北欧和西欧国家女性的生育率往往高于欧盟平均水平(德国是个例外)。尽管这些国家的生育率低于维持人口所需的2.1,但大量移民涌入使得它们的人口仍在增长。

Those in southern Europe, the second group, have stagnated or shrunk. Fertility rates are lower; in some countries, emigrants have outnumbered immigrants since 2010. Italy is emblematic. Older Italians drift away from work well before they reach pensionable age, and a shortage of child care means many women never return to work after giving birth. By the age of 50, just over half are in work. If those low employment rates persist as Italy ages further, in 2050 there will be more Italians over the age of 50 who are out of the labour force than there are workers of all ages, points out Stefano Scarpetta of the OECD, a Paris-based think-tank.

第二类是南欧的成员国,它们的人口或者停止增长,或者已经下降。生育率降低了;自2010年以来,某些国家的外迁人数超过了迁入人数。意大利的情况非常典型。年长的意大利人远未达到退休年龄就逐渐退出了劳动力市场,儿童保育服务不足导致许多女性在生育后不再重返职场。50岁以上人群中还在工作的刚刚过半。总部在巴黎的智库经合组织的斯特凡诺·斯卡佩特(Stefano Scarpetta)指出,随着意大利进一步老龄化,如果就业率持续低迷,那么到2050年,50岁以上不再工作的人口将比所有年龄段劳动人口的总数还要多。

Populations in central and eastern Europe, the third group, have been falling fast because of emigration. Around 2.5m Romanian nationals of working age, equivalent to a fifth of the population, live elsewhere in the EU. These countries also have relatively low older and female participation rates (the Baltic states, which take inspiration from the Nordics, are an exception). Poland and Hungary offer financial incentives for child-bearing. But research suggests that these rarely work.

中东欧国家属于第三类,人口因外迁而快速下降。罗马尼亚大约有250万劳动年龄国民居住在其他欧盟成员国,相当于该国总人口的五分之一。这些国家的老年人和女性的劳动参与率也相对较低(借鉴北欧的波罗的海国家除外)。波兰和匈牙利提供财政奖励来鼓励生育,但研究表明这无甚作用。

These demographic disparities worsen economic divides. Southerners start in a poor position. Productivity is low and as the number of people in work falls, growth will weaken. Their gross public debt is already high—in Italy, over 130% of GDP—and risks rising further. The euro-zone’s one-size-fits-all monetary policy may seem less appropriate as growth prospects diverge.

这些人口结构差异加剧了经济差距。南欧国家起点较低。它们的生产率低下,而随着劳动人口的减少,增长将会放缓。它们的公共债务总额已经很高(在意大利已经超过GDP的130%),并且可能进一步上升。随着增长前景的分化,欧元区一刀切的货币政策似乎欠妥。

Most central and eastern countries are outside the currency union. But here too there are strains. EU membership promised speedy catch-up towards western European levels of income. But the IMF reckons that the annual growth rate of GDP per person will be up to a percentage point lower because of demographic decline, slowing convergence. Many of these newish members were initially keen on free movement. But after losing working-age people to Europe’s north and west, they are cooling on it. Croatia, which lost 5% of its population in the three years after it joined in 2013, wants the union to discuss tackling the effects of demographic decline.

大多数中欧和东欧国家都不属于欧元区,但也面临压力。加入欧盟原本有望迅速赶上西欧的收入水平,但国际货币基金组织估计,由于人口下降,人均GDP年增长率将放缓多达一个百分点,令趋同放缓。这些新晋成员国中有许多起初非常支持人口自由流动,但在大量劳动年龄人口流失到北欧和西欧之后,热情冷却了。克罗地亚在2013年加入欧盟后的三年内流失了5%的人口,它希望欧盟能就如何应对人口下降的影响展开讨论。

经济学人双语版-老龄、富裕与分裂 Old, rich and divided

Migration within the EU, as in America, has seen workers move to more dynamic cities and regions. Research by the Centre for European Reform suggests that less successful places tend to be older and less productive. The EU has a pot of money to ensure “cohesion”, but it is small and less equipped than national budgets to redistribute from winners to losers.

欧盟范围内的移民趋势与美国国内一样,也是劳动者向更有活力的城市和地区流动。欧洲改革中心(Centre for European Reform)的研究表明,不发达的地方往往人口年龄更大,生产率更低。欧盟有一笔资金来确保“凝聚力”,但钱不多,而且很难像国家预算那样在贫富之间做再分配。

Europe needs coherent policies if it is to hold together as it ages. Older people and women—who tend to have lower employment rates—should be encouraged into work. If Italian women were as likely to work as German ones, Italy’s workforce would be 14% bigger. Matching older workers’ employment rates would add 5%.

欧盟若要在老龄化的过程中继续保持团结,就需要协同一致的政策。应鼓励就业率较低的老人和女性参加工作。如果意大利女性的就业率和德国女性一样,意大利的劳动力将扩大14%;如果其年长劳动力的就业率和德国一样,将扩大5%。

Judging by France, providing cheap child care both encourages women into work and supports fertility rates, says Mr Scarpetta. Existing workers can be better trained; automation can supplement them. Improving education and investing in infrastructure could increase productivity. Governments can ensure that retirement ages keep pace with lifespans. All these policies would have the added benefits of attracting immigrants and convincing would-be emigrants to stay.

斯卡佩特说,从法国的情况来看,提供廉价的育儿服务既能鼓励女性参加工作,又能维持生育率。可以向现有劳动者提供更好的培训,自动化可以辅助他们工作。改善教育水平和投资基础设施可以提高生产率。政府可以确保随寿命延长调整退休年龄。所有这些政策都会带来额外的好处,即吸引外来移民,并说服有外迁想法的人留下来。

To date, northern countries have done the most. Germany acted decisively in the 2000s, says Axel Börsch-Supan of the Munich Centre for the Economics of Ageing. Reforms to state pensions linked contributions and payouts to the old-age dependency ratio. Partly thanks to rises in the pensionable age, employment rates for older people, especially women, shot up. In 2000 the share of older people in the workforce was only slightly above that in Spain and Greece. Now it is the EU’s third highest.

迄今为止,北欧国家做的努力最多。慕尼黑老龄经济学中心(Munich Centre for the Economics of Ageing)的阿克塞尔·博尔希-苏潘(Axel Börsch-Supan)说,德国在本世纪前十年采取了果断措施。对国家养老金的改革将缴费和支付与老年抚养比挂钩。一定程度上由于退休年龄的提高,年长劳动力、特别是女性的就业率猛增。2000年德国年长者占劳动人口的比例仅略高于西班牙和希腊,现在已跃居欧盟第三。

But enacting and sustaining reforms has proved tricky. Past reforms have been rolled back. Higher pensionable ages introduced in Italy in 2011 were partially reversed last year; so too were measures in Poland and even Germany. Strikes in France against a pensions overhaul are in their second month. Changes to pensions are so unpopular in the south because whole families often live off them, says Cinzia Alcidi of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a think-tank in Brussels. Spending more on working-age benefits would help.

但事实证明,实施和维持改革都很难。一些过去的改革被撤销。意大利于2011年提高了领取养老金的年龄,但去年又回调了一些。波兰甚至德国的政策也是如此。法国抗议养老金改革的罢工已进入第二个月。布鲁塞尔的智库欧洲政策研究中心(Centre for European Policy Studies)的辛齐亚·阿尔奇迪(Cinzia Alcidi)说,在南欧,经常有整个家庭靠养老金为生的情况,所以养老金政策改革非常不受欢迎。增加与工龄挂钩的福利支出会有帮助。

The necessary reforms go far beyond those obviously connected to population ageing. Analysis by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, for instance, finds that cutting corruption and strengthening institutions in less well-run countries could convince potential emigrants to stay home. Marshalling a decisive response to the continent’s changing demography will not be easy. But the EU’s very survival may depend on it. ■

必须改革的远不仅是与老龄化明显相关的问题。例如,欧洲复兴开发银行(European Bank of Reconstruction and Development)的分析发现,在治理不善的国家减少腐败和加强制度建设或许可以说服想要移民的人留在国内。对欧洲的人口演变采取果断的对策并不容易,但欧盟的维续可能取决于此。