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Does Information Increase Political Support for Pension Reform?

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Author Info

  • Boeri, Tito
  • Tabellini, Guido

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5319.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5319

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Keywords: information; pension reform; policy opinions;

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References

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  1. Valentino Larcinese, 2007. "Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 387-411, June.
  2. Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 394, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alan Blinder & Alan Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Working Papers 875, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  4. 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.
  5. Tim Krieger, 2006. "Public pensions and return migration," Working Papers 2, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
  6. 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, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
  7. Cesar Martinelli, 2002. "Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?," Working Papers 0210, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  8. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula & Renata Bottazzi, 2003. "Retirement Expectations and Pension Reforms," CSEF Working Papers 92, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  9. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2009. "Transparency and Economic Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1023-1048.
  10. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
  11. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:3:p:1023-1048 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Tito Boeri & Axel Boersch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Pension Reforms and the Opinions of European Citizens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 396-401, May.
  13. Wang, Lu & Davis, Otto A, 2003. " Freedom and Other Variables in the Choice of Public Pension Systems," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(3-4), pages 361-85, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bernd Hayo & Hiroyuki Ono, 2007. "Comparing Public Attitudes Towards Providing for the Livelihood of the Elderly in Two aging Sodieties: Germany and Japan," Marburg Working Papers on Economics 200703, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  2. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:2:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  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, vol. 8(3), pages 17-25, October.
  4. Balmaseda, Manuel & Melguizo, Angel & Taguas, David, 2006. "Las reformas necesarias en el sistema de pensiones contributivas en España
    [Reforming the Spanish contributory pension system]
    ," MPRA Paper 19574, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Mar 2006.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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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