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The Economics of Pensions: A non-conventional approach

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  • Sergio Cesaratto

Abstract

This paper examines two alternative pension systems, pay-as-you-go (PAYGS) and the capitalisation system (CS) in the light of alternative economic theories. It starts from a critical discussion of the insurance-fiction model of PAYGS proposed by Samuelson in 1958. The pros and cons of that model are illustrated by taking into consideration the non-orthodox views of Keynes, Lerner, Pechman, de Finetti and Eisner. Next, the paper investigates the relationship between CS and the marginalist capital theory. It is shown that, interpreted in a neoclassical framework, CS presents endogenous mechanisms of adjustment to demographic shocks. The problems of the transition between PAYGS and CS are then examined. The paper then discusses some main features of the current US policy debates on the Social Security system. Finally, the alleged advantages of a wider adoption of CS are criticised in the light of the Keynesian theory of effective demand reinforced by the Sraffian criticism of neoclassical capital theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Review of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 14 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 149-177

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Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:14:y:2002:i:2:p:149-177

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References

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  1. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 5413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1986. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Antonella Stirati, 2001. "Inflation, Unemployment and Hysteresis: An alternative view," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 427-451.
  4. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1984. "Value and Distribution in the Classical Economists and Marx," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 291-325, June.
  5. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1998. "The Transition Path in Privatizing Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 215-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Richard Kohl & Paul O'Brien, 1998. "The Macroeconomics of Ageing, Pensions and Savings: A Survey," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 200, OECD Publishing.
  8. Robert Eisner, 1998. "Save Social Security from Its Saviors," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 21(1), pages 77-92, October.
  9. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1979. "Social Security and Equilibrium Capital Intensity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 233-53, May.
  10. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  11. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
  12. Garegnani, P, 1970. "Heterogeneous Capital, the Production Function and the Theory of Distribution," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 407-36, July.
  13. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1995. "Pension reform and growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1471, The World Bank.
  14. Garegnani, Pierangelo, 1978. "Notes on Consumption, Investment and Effective Demand: I," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 335-53, December.
  15. Thompson, Lawrence H, 1983. "The Social Security Reform Debate," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 1425-67, December.
  16. Samuelson, Paul A, 1975. "The Optimum Growth Rate for Population," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(3), pages 531-38, October.
  17. Cesaratto, Sergio, 1999. "Savings and Economic Growth in Neoclassical Theory," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(6), pages 771-93, November.
  18. J. Steindl, 1998. "Capital gains in economic theory and national accounting," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 51(207), pages 435-449.
  19. Peter A. Diamond, 1996. "Proposals to Restructure Social Security," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 67-88, Summer.
  20. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  21. Douglas W. Elmendorf & Louise M. Sheiner, 2000. "Should America Save for Its Old Age? Fiscal Policy, Population Aging, and National Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 57-74, Summer.
  22. J. Steindl, 1998. "Capital gains in economic theory and national accounting," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 51(207), pages 435-449.
  23. Henry J. Aaron & John B. Shoven, 1999. "Should the United States Privatize Social Security?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011743 edited by Benjamin M. Friedman, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Codrina Rada, 2012. "The Economics of Pensions. Remarks on Growth, Distribution and Class Conflict," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2012_02, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  2. Álvaro Martín Moreno R. & Fabio Ortiz, 2010. "Economía política de la reforma del sistema colombiano de pensiones," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 12(22), pages 167-192, January-J.
  3. Sergio Cesaratto, 2004. "The controversy over the US Social Security Surplus. A non conventional view," Department of Economics University of Siena 418, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

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