John Giles is Lead Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development Team). His current research interests include: the movement of labor from agricultural to non-agricultural employment, internal migration and its impacts on households and communities, poverty traps, household risk-coping and risk-management behavior, long-term effects of shocks to employment, school-to-work transitions, population aging and retirement decisions in developing countries, and women's labor supply decisions in developing countries. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999. Prior to joining the World Bank in May 2007, he spent two years as an Academy Scholar at Harvard University's Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and six years at Michigan State, where he was an Associate Professor before joining the World Bank.
Increased longevity and aging populations will place significant and growing burdens on working age adults in the near future. In this talk, John Giles discussed the aging of populations in the East Asia and Pacific region, where the growing fraction of elderly relative to the working age population is forcing tough trade-offs for families and policy makers.
Although average incomes in China have risen dramatically since the 1980s, concerns are increasing that the rural elderly have not benefited from growth to the same extent as younger people and the urban elderly. Concerns about welfare of the rural elderly combine spatial and demographic issues. Large gaps exist between conditions in coastal and interior regions and between conditions in urban and rural areas of the country. In addition to differences in income by geography, considerable differences exist across demographic groups in the level of coverage by safety nets, in the benefits received through the social welfare system, and in the risks of falling into poverty.
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