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Optimal fiscal policy in the design of Social Security reforms

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  • Juan Carlos Conesa
  • Carlos Garriga

Abstract

The quantitative macroeconomics literature has documented that in the basic Overlapping Generations model a privatization of the social security system, going from a Pay-As-You-Go to a Fully Funded system, generates large long run welfare gains at the cost of substantial welfare losses for initial generations. We propose an alternative to previous literature. In this paper we maximize over the entire policy space, following the optimal fiscal policy approach, rather than comparing alternative policy paths one to one. That is, policies are chosen as part of the optimal design of a social security privatization in a Pareto improving way. The government decides endogenously how to finance the implicit social security liabilities and compensate the initial generations alive during the transition. In contrast with previous analysis the resulting allocation, by construction, lies on the constrained Pareto frontier. We find that the optimal design of reforms exhibits sizeable welfare gains, arising because of the reduction in labor supply distortions. In contrast, the welfare gains coming from the reduction of savings distortions are relatively small.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2007-035.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Publication status: Published in International Economic Review, February 2008, 49(1), pp. 291-318
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-035

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Keywords: Fiscal policy ; Social security;

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Social security reform is possible
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-04-08 00:04:00
  2. Branislav Žúdel autorom Kriteka: Nerušme dôchodkovú reformu
    by Kriteko in Kritická ekonómia on 2010-12-20 08:14:14
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Cited by:
  1. Radim Bohacek & Volha Belush, 2009. "Social Security Reform in a Dynastic Life-Cycle Model with Endogenous Fertility," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp381, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.
  2. Alfredo Pereira & Jorge Andraz, 2012. "Social security and economic performance in Portugal: after all that has been said and done how much has actually changed?," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 83-100, August.
  3. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2012. "On financing retirement with an aging population," Staff Report 472, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Emin Gahramanov & Xueli Tang, 2013. "Solving for the Retirement Age in a Continuous-time Model with Endogenous Labor Supply," Economics Series 2013_5, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  5. Casamatta, Georges & Gondim, Joao Luis, 2009. "Reforming the Pay-As-You-Go Pension System: Who Votes for it ? When?," TSE Working Papers 09-104, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  6. Burkhard Heer & Andreas Irmen, 2008. "Population, Pensions, and Endogenous Economic Growth," Working Papers 0479, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2008.
  7. Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2008. "Generational Policy and the Macroeconomic Measurement of Tax Incidence," Working Papers 373, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  8. Yamada, Tomoaki, 2011. "A politically feasible social security reform with a two-tier structure," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 199-224, September.
  9. Craig P. Aubuchon & Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2011. "A primer on social security systems and reforms," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 19-35.
  10. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2006. "Social Security with Rational and Hyperbolic Consumers," Working Papers 010, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  11. Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2007. "Optimal response to a transitory demographic shock in Social Security financing," Working Papers 2007-041, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Shantanu Bagchi & James Feigenbaum, 2014. "Is Smoking a Fiscal Good?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 170-190, January.
  13. Brasil Gondim, João Luis & Casamatta, Georges, 2008. "Voting on Parametric Reforms of the Pay-As-You-Go Pension System," CEPR Discussion Papers 6993, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Hans Fehr, 2009. "Computable Stochastic Equilibrium Models and Their Use in Pension- and Ageing Research," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(4), pages 359-416, December.

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