Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Social Security and unsecured debt

Contents:

Author Info

  • Erik Hurst
  • Paul Willen

Abstract

Most young households simultaneously hold both unsecured debt on which they pay an average of 10 percent interest and social security wealth on which they earn less than 2 percent. We document this fact using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We then consider a life-cycle model with “tempted” households, who find it impossible to commit to an optimal consumption plan and “disciplined” households who have no such problem, and we explore ways to reduce this inefficiency. We show that allowing households to use social security wealth to pay off debt while exempting young households from social security contributions (but in both cases requiring higher contributions later) leads to increases in welfare for both types of households and, for disciplined households, to significant increases in consumption and saving and reductions in debt.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppdp/2004/ppdp0410.htm
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppdp/2004/ppdp0410.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Public Policy Discussion Paper with number 04-10.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:04-10

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 600 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02210
Phone: 617-973-3397
Fax: 617-973-4221
Email:
Web page: http://www.bos.frb.org/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:

Related research

Keywords: Social security ; Debt relief;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Reis, Ricardo, 2005. "Inattentive Consumers," CEPR Discussion Papers 5053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303 Elsevier.
  3. P. Dubey & J. Geanakoplos & M . Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Department of Economics Working Papers 01-07, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  4. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Alberto Bisin & Piero Gottardi, 1998. "Competitive Equilibria with Asymmetric Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2062, David K. Levine.
  8. John Geanakoplos & Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1998. "Social Security Money's Worth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1193, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., . "Consumption-Savings Decisions with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," GSIA Working Papers 2001-05, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  10. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 2003. "Time-Inconsistent Preferences And Social Security," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 745-784, May.
  11. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," NBER Working Papers 8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2003. "Self-control, revealed preference and consumption choice," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000362, David K. Levine.
  13. Andrés Erosa & Martin Gervais, 1998. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9812, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  14. Martin Feldstein, 1986. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004. "The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth," Labor and Demography 0402009, EconWPA.
  16. Tauchen, George & Hussey, Robert, 1991. "Quadrature-Based Methods for Obtaining Approximate Solutions to Nonlinear Asset Pricing Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 371-96, March.
  17. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  18. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 2001. "Individual Risk in an Investment-Based Social Security System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1116-1125, September.
  19. Erik Hurst & Paul Willen, 2004. "Social Security and unsecured debt," Public Policy Discussion Paper 04-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  20. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  21. George M. Constantinidies & John B. Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 1998. "Junior Can't Borrow: A New Perspective on the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 6617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Steven J. Davis & Felix Kubler & Paul Willen, 2005. "Borrowing costs and the demand for equity over the life cycle," Working Papers 05-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  23. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," NBER Working Papers 6227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  25. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco & Francisco J. Gomes & Pascala J. Maenhout, 2000. "Investing Retirement Wealth? A Life-Cycle Model," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1896, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  26. Andrew B. Abel, 1987. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 1664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Should the Social Security Trust Fund Hold Equities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 666-697, July.
  28. David Altig & Steve J. Davis, 1989. "The timing of intergenerational transfers, tax policy, and aggregate savings," Working Paper 8917, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  29. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Todd Neumann, 2001. "Does participating in a 401(k) raise your lifetime taxes?," Working Paper 0108, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  30. Hubbard, R Glenn & Judd, Kenneth L, 1987. "Social Security and Individual Welfare: Precautionary Saving, Borrowing Constraints, and the Payroll Tax," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 630-46, September.
  31. Erik Hurst, 2004. "Grasshoppers, Ants and Pre-Retirement Wealth: A Test of Permanent Income Consumers," Working Papers wp088, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  32. Peter Diamond & John Geanakoplos, 2003. "Social Security Investment in Equities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1047-1074, September.
  33. Thomas A. Durkin, 2000. "Credit cards: use and consumer attitudes, 1970-2000," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Sep, pages 623-634.
  34. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f2, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  35. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
  36. Feldstein, Martin & Ranguelova, Elena, 2001. "Individual Risk in an Investment-Based Social Security System," Scholarly Articles 2797440, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  37. Smetters, Kent & Walliser, Jan, 2004. "Opting out of social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1295-1306, July.
  38. W. Pesendorfer & F. Gul, 1999. "Temptation and Self-Control," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 99f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
  39. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  40. Martin Feldstein & Horst Siebert, 2002. "Social Security Pension Reform in Europe," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld02-2, May.
  41. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
  42. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Laitner, John & Silverman, Dan, 2012. "Consumption, retirement and social security: Evaluating the efficiency of reform that encourages longer careers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 615-634.
  2. Ajello, Andrea, 2010. "Financial intermediation, investment dynamics and business cycle fluctuations," MPRA Paper 32447, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Mar 2011.
  3. Hans Fehr & Fabian Kindermann, 2009. "Pension funding and individual accounts in economies with life-cyclers and myopes," Working Papers 2009/23, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  4. Roel Beetsma & Alessandro Bucciol, 2010. "Differentiating Indexation in Dutch Pension Funds," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-128/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Roel Beetsma & Alessandro Bucciol, 2010. "Differentiating Indexation in Dutch Pension Funds," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-128/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. John Gathergood & Joerg Weber, 2012. "Self-Control, Financial Literacy and Co-Holding Puzzle," Discussion Papers 2012-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  7. Alan D. Viard, 2007. "The Welfare Effects Of Pay-As-You-Go Retirement Programs: The Role Of Tax And Benefit Timing," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(2), pages 282-292, 04.
  8. Erik Hurst & Paul Willen, 2004. "Social Security and Unsecured Debt," NBER Working Papers 10282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alessandro Bucciol, 2006. "The Roles of Temptation and Social Security in Explaining Individual Behavior," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0032, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  10. Alisdair McKay, 2013. "Search for Financial Returns and Social Security Privatization," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 253-270, April.
  11. T. Findley & Frank Caliendo, 2009. "Short horizons, time inconsistency, and optimal social security," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 487-513, August.
  12. Athreya, Kartik B., 2008. "Default, insurance, and debt over the life-cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 752-774, May.
  13. Gahramanov, Emin, 2013. "Survival misperception, time inconsistency, and implications for life-cycle saving and welfare," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 539-550.
  14. Alisdair McKay, 2011. "Household Saving Behavior and Social Security Privatization," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-027, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  15. Frank Caliendo & Emin Gahramanov, 2013. "Myopia and pensions in general equilibrium," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 375-401, July.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:04-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.