Research Programs: Human Capital

Economic Analysis on the problem of an aging population and a declining birthrate in China and Japan in the COVID-19 pandemic

Project Leader/Sub-Leader

YIN Ting

YIN Ting (Fellow (Specially Appointed))



The ultra-low birthrate and super-aged society of Japan is facing a new challenge in the COVID-19 pandemic. Under those circumstances, improving the productivity of the medical and long-term nursing care industries and the formation of health capital have been extremely important political issues. China, Japan’s neighboring country with a massive potential demand for medical and long-term care services, is becoming increasingly aware of preventive medicine and preventive care as a result of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This represents an excellent opportunity to export the know-how on medical and long-term care which has been accumulated, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to China.

In addition to constructing and estimating a model tailored to Japan and China using existing data on individuals, households, and facilities, which are available in great detail, this research conducts a series of econometric analyses focusing on the formation of health capital, after understanding the actual conditions of the medical and long-term care industries in Japan and China. First, by using receipt data from Japan and China, the research performs efficiency analyses including an estimation on the quality of medical services themselves and the impact of the current healthcare system on the formation of health capital. Second, this research sheds light on which kind of nursing care services are preferred by the Chinese population, how to set pricing and care worker payment, and the economic conditions of the assisted-living residents, by conducting a joint Japan-China internet survey on the demands for nursing care. All of these are very important and helpful to Japanese companies that are hoping to enter the Chinese nursing care market. Third, from a household economics perspective, this research clarifies the actual situation of the gender gap, which is pointed out as one of the main causes of the declining birthrate, and its impact on childbearing. In addition, this research clarifies changes in parents' inheritance motives, employment behavior, and in-home and out-of-home caregiving behavior and their impact on the economy, as well as the determinants of social capital and their impact on health. Finally, this research constructs a more realistic theoretical model and evaluates current policies related to aging and declining birthrates, and makes policy recommendations including a comparison between Japan and China regarding laws, tax systems, and social security systems (pensions, medical care, and long-term care) related to aging and declining birthrates in the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 1, 2023 - January 31, 2026

(During the research project period, the research activity period is set from February 1, 2023 to July 31, 2025, and the data usage reporting period is set from August 1, 2025 to January 31, 2026.)

Major Research Results


RIETI Discussion Papers


RIETI Discussion Papers