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Coping with Rational Prodigals: A Theory of Social Security and Savings Subsidies

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  • STEFAN HOMBURG

Abstract

The rational prodigality argument, which often serves to justify social security, is considered in a second-best tax framework with endogenous labour supply. Rational prodigality renders the familiar policies time-inconsistent. I analyse time-consistent policies and show that a wage tax suffices to rule out prodigality as a rational strategy. However, by using savings subsidies the solution can be improved upon. The subsidies are shown to be decreasing in income. A social security system with increasing contributions is not needed in either case. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2006.

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 73 (2006)
Issue (Month): 289 (02)
Pages: 47-58

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:73:y:2006:i:289:p:47-58

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  1. Stefan Homburg, 2001. "The Optimal Income Tax: Restatement and Extensions," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(4), pages 363-395, November.
  2. Kai A. Konrad & Gert Wagner, 2000. "Reform of the Public Pension System in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 200, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  3. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Social security in theory and practice (II): Efficiency theories, narrative theories and implications for reform," Economics Working Papers 385, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
  5. Matthews, Steven & Moore, John, 1987. "Monopoly Provision of Quality and Warranties: An Exploration in the Theory of Multidimensional Screening," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 441-67, March.
  6. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
  7. Homburg, Stefan, 2000. "Compulsory savings in the welfare state," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 233-239, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Andras Simonovits, 2009. "A Simple Model of Tax-Favored Retirement Accounts," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0915, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  2. D'Orlando, Fabio & Sanfilippo, Eleonora, 2010. "Behavioral foundations for the Keynesian consumption function," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1035-1046, December.

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