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Voting on pensions with endogenous retirement age

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  • CASAMATTA, Georges
  • CREMER, Helmuth
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

Abstract

It is often argued that the observed trend towards early retirement is due mainly to the implicit tax imposed on continued activity of elderly workers. We study the relevance of such a distortion in a political economy model with endogenous age of retirement. The setting is a two-period overlapping generations model. Individuals differ in their productivity. In the first period they work a fixed amount of time; in the second, they choose when to retire and then receive a flat rate pension benefit. Pensions are financed by a payroll tax on earnings in the first and in the second period of life. Such a tax is non-distortionary in the first period; it is in the second period. We allow for some rebating of the second period tax. Individuals vote on the level of the payroll tax given a rebate that can range from 0 (biased system) to 100% (neutral system). We provide sufficient conditions for the existence of a voting equilibrium and study its properties. Under these conditions, high tax rates are supported by all the old and by low productivity young individuals. We show that the pivotal voter is a young individual. The number of young individuals who have higher wage than the pivotal voter equals half the total population. Finally, we study the simultaneous determination of the bias and the tax rate through a voting procedure and show that the equilibrium (if any) implies a bias that is always positive and may or not be larger than one.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -1754.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-1754

Note: In : International Tax and Public Finance, 12, 7-28, 2005
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  1. Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Early Retirement," CEPR Discussion Papers 3896, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 394, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2003. "Early Retirement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, January.
  4. Georges Casamatta & Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 2000. "The Political Economy of Social Security," CESifo Working Paper Series 259, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1978. "A model of social security and retirement decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 337-360, December.
  6. Francisco M. Lagos & Juan Antonio Lacomba, 2001. "Election On Retirement Age," Working Papers. Serie AD 2001-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  7. Juan Antonio Lacomba & Francisco Miguel Lagos, 2005. "Political Election on Legal Retirement Age," ThE Papers 05/10, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  8. Crawford, Vincent P & Lilien, David M, 1981. "Social Security and the Retirement Decision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 505-29, August.
  9. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, octubre-d.
  10. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  11. Michele Boldrin & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Political Equilibria with Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 41-78, January.
  12. Robert Fenge & Pierre Pestieau, 2005. "Social Security and Early Retirement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062496, December.
  13. Jonathan Gruber & David Wise, 1997. "Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Introduction and Summary of Papers by..," NBER Working Papers 6134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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