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The Intergenerational State: Education and Pensions

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  • Boldrin, Michele
  • Montes, Ana

Abstract

When credit markets to finance investment in the human capital of young people are missing, the competitive equilibrium allocation is inefficient. When generations overlap, this failure can be mitigated by properly designed social institutions such as public education and public pensions. We show that, when established jointly, they implement an intergenerational transfer scheme supporting the complete market allocation. Through the public financing of education, the young borrow, from the middle age to invest in human capital. When employed, they pay back their debt via a social security tax, the proceedings of which finance pension payments to the now elderly lenders. We consider other, allocationally equivalent, financing schemes. In all cases, when the complete market allocation is achieved a certain equality should be observed among implicit rates of return and the market rate of return. We test this prediction by using micro and macro data from Spain. The results are, surprisingly, good. We also use the model to quantify the impact of undergoing demographic change on the implicit rates of return. The results point, unsurprisingly, to dramatic changes in generational rates of return. Contrary to what predicted by earlier studies in the generational accounting tradition, our findings suggest that future generations are not necessarily going to be worse than current ones.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3275.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3275

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Keywords: efficient intergenerational arrangements; public education; public pensions;

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  1. Kehoe, Timothy J & Levine, David K, 2001. "Liquidity Constrained Markets versus Debt Constrained Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 575-98, May.
  2. Michele Boldrin, 1993. "Public Education and Capital Accumulation," Working Papers 9301, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  3. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," NBER Working Papers 0362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Barro, R.J. & Becker, G.S., 1988. "Fertility Choice In A Model Of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  6. Antonio Rangel, 2000. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: A Theory of Intergenerational Exchange," NBER Working Papers 7518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Generational Accounting around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number auer99-1.
  8. Cass, David, 1972. "Distinguishing inefficient competitive growth paths: A note on capital overaccumulation and rapidly diminishing future value of consumption in a fairly general model of capitalistic production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 224-240, April.
  9. Cremer, H. & Kessler, D. & Pestieau, P., 1989. "Intergenerational Transfers Within The Family," CORE Discussion Papers 1989018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Ana Montes, 2002. "Educación para los jóvenes y pensiones para los mayores: ¿Existe alguna relación? Evidencia para España," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 26(1), pages 145-185, January.
  11. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 1995. "Is Social Security Really Bad For Growth?," Working Papers 218, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  12. Michele Boldrin & Larry E. Jones, 2002. "Mortality, Fertility, and Saving in a Malthusian Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 775-814, October.
  13. repec:wop:bodewp:218 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1986. "Laws as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time Consistency Problem," NBER Working Papers 2068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Neher, Philip A, 1971. "Peasants, Procreation, and Pensions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 380-89, June.
  16. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, . "The Family and the State," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  17. Robert C. Merton, 1981. "On the Role of Social Security as a Means for Efficient Risk-Bearing in an Economy Where Human Capital Is Not Tradeable," NBER Working Papers 0743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-77, September.
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