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This paper explores the demographic transition in the Republic of Korea and its impacts on development for the period 1955–2017, when life expectancy at birth increased from 49 to 83 years and total fertility rate decreased from 6 to around 1 birth per woman. During the same period, the country’s real gross domestic product per capita increased by 25 times. The paper documents change in the population age and sex structure as well as those of the labour market in light of the demographic transition and economic development. It also proposes a growth accounting framework which quantifies economic growth effects in relation to demographic changes, as well as putting forward a new concept of dependency ratio, reflecting the country’s population and employment structure, and levels of human capital investment. The paper’s quantitative analysis reveals that reductions in male-female inequalities across society are a vital component of the demographic dividend and that the demographic transition is essential in promoting economic growth together with reducing gender inequality in various socioeconomic domains. The paper concludes with a series of policy recommendations aimed at sharing good practices from the Republic of Korea with other countries.

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