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Does Information Increase Political Support for Pension Reform?

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  • Tito Boeri
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

An opinion poll on a representative sample of Italian citizens suggests that it does. We focus on reforms that would lengthen retirement age and/or cut pension benefits. After controlling for individual features of the respondent, we find that individuals who are more informed about the costs and functioning of the Italian pension system are more willing to accept reforms. This result holds also using non-parametric methods, such as propensity-score matching. However, the data also suggest that information is endogenous, and jointly determined with policy opinions. We therefore estimate a causal effect of information, with joint maximum likelihood and instrumental variables. These different methods all confirm a positive and significant causal effect of better information on the willingness to accept reforms that reduce the generosity of the pension system. Finally we do not find that exposure to media coverage of pension issues significantly improves information, possibly because individuals read newspaper articles or watch TV programs on these issues just to confirm their priors.

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 784828000000000244.

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Date of creation: 26 Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:784828000000000244

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References

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  1. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
  2. César Martinelli, 2004. "Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000593, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Valentino Larcinese, 2007. "Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 387-411, June.
  4. Author-Name: Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 327-397.
  5. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:3:p:1023-1048 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Tito Boeri & Axel Boersch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Pension Reforms and the Opinions of European Citizens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 396-401, May.
  7. Tim Krieger, 2006. "Public pensions and return migration," Working Papers CIE 2, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
  8. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
  9. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula & Renata Bottazzi, 2003. "Retirement Expectations and Pension Reforms," CSEF Working Papers, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy 92, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  10. Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 3272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Wang, Lu & Davis, Otto A, 2003. " Freedom and Other Variables in the Choice of Public Pension Systems," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 114(3-4), pages 361-85, March.
  12. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
  13. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2009. "Transparency and Economic Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1023-1048.
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Cited by:
  1. El Mekkaoui de Freitas, Najat & Kukla, Bénédicte & Legendre, Bérangère, 2010. "Les systèmes d’information sur les retraites en Europe et aux États-Unis," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/11272, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Hayo, Bernd & Ono, Hiroyuki, 2010. "Comparing public attitudes toward providing for the livelihood of the elderly in two aging societies: Germany and Japan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 72-80, January.
  3. Arji Lans Bovenberg, 2007. "Grey new world: Europe on the road to gerontocracy, Introduction by Arji Lans Bovenberg," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 8(3), pages 17-25, October.
  4. Jakob de Haan & Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jochen O. Mierau, 2012. "Do Budgetary Institutions Mitigate the Common Pool Problem? New Empirical Evidence for the EU," KOF Working papers 12-303, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  5. Angel Melguizo & Manuel Balmaseda & David Taguas, 2005. "Las reformas necesarias en el sistema de pensiones contributivas en Espana," Working Papers, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department 0505, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
  6. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:2:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Beatrice Scheubel & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Don't Raise the Retirement Age! An Experiment on Opposition to Pension Reforms and East-West Differences in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 2752, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Alessandro Bucciol & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Lying in Politics: Evidence from the US," Working Papers 22/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.

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