Giacomo Caracciolo, Salvatore Lo Bello, Dario Pellegrino: An assessment on the potential impact of COVID-19 on the Italian demographic structure; in Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area (ed.): Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 622 (June 2021).
Relative to past pandemics, the mortality effects of Covid-19 on the demographic structure are likely smaller. However, the behavioural effects of the economic crisis on the decisions to have children and to migrate may be substantial. The literature on the relationship between the economic cycle and demographics uncovers the potential of the unemployment rate to predict fertility and migrations. Based on this evidence, the authors estimate the elasticity of the number of births per woman of child-bearing age and of the net migration rate to the unemployment rate in Italy, considering the 1980-2019 period. Accordingly, they forecast the impact of the pandemic on the birth rate and on migration flows in 2020-23, and they build alternative scenarios for the following years (2024-2065). Lastly, the authors examine the consequences of the same phenomena on the demographic structure and on GDP and on GDP per capita. Given the scenarios outlined in their work and in the absence of effective policies to support economic growth, the crisis may exacerbate the process of population ageing indicated by Istat projections, with significant repercussions for output.