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Population Ageing, Taxation, Pensions and Health Costs

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  • Patricia Apps
  • Ray Rees
  • Margi Wood

Abstract

This paper argues against the policy position that begins with a doomsday scenario of publicly provided health insurance and pension systems threatened with collapse under the stresses imposed by population ageing, and instead contends that the threat of crisis in these systems is policy driven. The central thesis of the paper is that a range of policies lead to the creation of an ageing crisis by inhibiting the efficient reallocation of female labour from the home to the market in response to the decline in fertility. The analysis focuses on family support policies that create large effective tax burdens on female labour supply, by means testing the support on family income, or selectively on the second income. Examples include Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B, the Medicare Levy and the Medicare Safety Net. The analysis draws on household survey data to show that female labour supply is strongly positively associated with household saving, the purchase of private health insurance and spending on family health generally. Policies that inhibit female labour supply therefore have the effect of reducing the tax base for funding public pensions and health care, while simultaneously reducing the capacity of families to fund them privately.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 564.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:564

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Keywords: life cycle; health costs; pensions; household taxation;

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  1. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2005. "Gender, Time Use, and Public Policy over the Life Cycle," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 439-461, Autumn.
  2. David Cutler & Angus Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2005. "The Determinants of Mortality," Working Papers 235, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  3. David M. Cutler & James M. Poterba & Louise M. Sheiner & Lawrence H. Summers, 1990. "An Aging Society: Opportunity or Challenge?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 21(1), pages 1-74.
  4. Sheetal K. Chand & Albert Jaeger, 1996. "Aging Populations and Public Pension Schemes," IMF Occasional Papers 147, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Kathryn Shaw, 1994. "The Persistence of Female Labor Supply: Empirical Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 348-378.
  6. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  7. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2002. "Fertility, Dependency and Social Security," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 5(4), pages 569-585, December.
  8. Kees van Gool & Elizabeth Savage & Rosalie viney & Marion Haas & Rob Anderson, 2006. "Catastrophic insurance: Impact of the Australian Medicare Safety Net on fees, service use and out-of-pocket costs, CHERE Working Paper 2006/9," Working Papers 2006/9, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
  9. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1993. "Consumer demand and the life-cycle allocation of household expenditures," IFS Working Papers W93/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334.
  11. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
  12. repec:fth:harver:1490 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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.
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