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Social Security and Retirement Decision: A Positive and Normative Approach

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  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie
  • Pestieau, Pierre

Abstract

Social insurance for the elderly is judged responsible for the widely observed trend towards early retirement. In a world of laissez-faire or in a first-best setting, there would be no such trend. However, when first-best instruments are not available, because health and productivity are not observable, the optimal social insurance policy may imply a distortion on the retirement decision. The main point we make is that while there is no doubt that retirement systems induce an excessive bias towards early in many countries, a complete elimination of this bias (i.e., a switch to an actuarially fair system) is not the right answer. This is so and for two reasons. First, some distortions are second-best optimal. This is the normative argument. Second, and on the positive side, the elimination of the bias might be problematic from a political perspective. Depending on the political process, it may either not be feasible or alternatively it may tend to undermine the political support for the pension system itself.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5542.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5542

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Keywords: early retirement; majority voting; optimal income taxation; social security;

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Cited by:
  1. repec:ese:emodwp:em10-08 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Torben Andersen, 2006. "Increasing Longevity and Social Security Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 1789, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Amedeo Spadaro & Lucia Mangiavacchi & Luca Piccoli, 2012. "Optimal taxation, social contract, and the four worlds of welfare capitalism," DEA Working Papers 51, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Departament d'Economía Aplicada.
  4. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Günther Fink & Jocelyn E. Finlay, 2008. "Demographic Change, Institutional Settings, and Labor Supply," PGDA Working Papers 4208, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.
  5. Enrique Fatás & Juan A. Lacomba & Francisco M. Lagos & Ana I. Moro, 2008. "Experimental tests on consumption, savings and pensions," ThE Papers 08/14, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  6. Rob Euwals & Daniel van Vuuren & Annemiek van Vuren, 2011. "The impact of reforms on labour market exit probabilities," CPB Discussion Paper 179, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  7. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Gunther Fink & Jocelyn Finlay, 2009. "The Effect of Social Security Reform on Male Retirement in High and Middle Income Countries," PGDA Working Papers 4809, Program on the Global Demography of Aging.

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