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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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References

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  1. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
  2. Feldstein, Martin S, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-20, May.
  3. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
  4. Thomas F. Cooley & Jorge Soares, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Social Security Based on Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 135-160, February.
  5. Gale, David, 1973. "Pure exchange equilibrium of dynamic economic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, February.
  6. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  7. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
  8. Michele Boldrin & Ana Montes, 2004. "The intergenerational state: education and pensions," Staff Report 336, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  10. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2003. "A welfare analysis of social security in a dynastic framework," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1247-1274, November.
  11. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1996. "The Transition Path in Privatizing Social Security," NBER Working Papers 5761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Would Privatizing Social Security Raise Economic Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 5281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andres Erosa & Martin Gervais, 2000. "Optimal taxation in life-cycle economies," Working Paper 00-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  14. Krüger, Dirk & Kubler, Felix, 2005. "Pareto Improving Social Security Reform when Financial Markets Are Incomplete," CEPR Discussion Papers 5039, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Lorenzo Forni, 2005. "Social Security as Markov Equilibrium in OLG Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(1), pages 178-194, January.
  16. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Garriga, Carlos, 2003. "Status Quo Problem In Social Security Reforms," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(05), pages 691-710, November.
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Citations

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. 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.
  2. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2006. "Social Security with Rational and Hyperbolic Consumers," Working Papers 010, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2009. "Optimal response to a transitory demographic shock in Social Security financing," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 33-48.
  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. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2012. "On financing retirement with an aging population," Staff Report 472, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. 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.
  9. Alfredo M. Pereira & Jorge M. Andraz, 2009. "Social Security And Economic Performance In Portugal: After All That Has Been Said And Done How Much Has Actually Changed?," Working Papers 81, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  10. 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.
  11. Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2009. "Generational policy and the macroeconomic measurement of tax incidence," Working Papers 2009-003, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  12. Bagchi, Shantanu, 2013. "Is the Social Security Crisis Really as Bad as We Think?," MPRA Paper 56294, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised May 2014.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.

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