Friday 7 January 2011

The HSBC 2050 report and Poland

Dr. Marcin Piatkowski, a senior economist at the World Bank's Warsaw office, expresses similar doubts about predictions that assume unchanging population growth/shrinkage in relation to Poland, where I'm currently working:

"The main reason why Poland is projected not to do too well in the future is the expected demographic decline. The model assumes that the fertility rate in Poland will remain low at 1.3 and that there will be no immigration. Both assumptions are incorrect.

First, the fertility rate in Poland is already increasing, exceeding 1.4 in 2009, up from 1.3 in 2003. What is more important, pressed by the society and rising future pension costs, the Polish government will have no choice, but to enhance its pro-family policy


Second, Poland is set to become a big recipient of immigrants, reversing the 300 year old trend. This is because with rising income Poland will become more and more attractive. When Poland's GDP per capita rises above 70% of the EU average, similarly to Spain in the mid-1990s and the Czech Republic recently . . ."

This would seem to be a general concern about these predictions - that population growth is actually hard to predict, and any forecasts done on the assumption that growth rates will remain stable or only change linearly are bound to be inaccurate. Something worth considering, for example, is that the UK's recent increases in birth rate have come at the expense of Eastern European states, where large numbers of young people emigrated to the UK after the accession of these states to the EU. Now that these states are becoming relatively richer, it seems unlikely that such migration patterns will continue.


Miles said...

Don't know if you have caught George Friedman's book "The Next 100 Years." He makes a pretty strong case that Poland is on the rise and will play a major role in international affairs by the middle of this century. Certainly worth a read, especially if you are on the ground over there.

Gilman Grundy said...

Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a read.