A Theory of Noncontributory Pension Design
AbstractNoncontributory subsidies for the old poor (first-pillar pensions) affect the welfare of hundreds of millions around the world. Their benevolent rationale is to redistribute progressively, subject to efficiency considerations. This paper focuses on a critical efficiency issue: first pillars may affect another, even bigger program, namely contributory pensions for the middle classes, by inducing a reduction in the density of contributions. A major source of concern with contributory pensions in emerging economies is that the total replacement rate is too small for participants with low density, which are prevalent. The paper develops a model where density of contribution is endogenous, because for a substantial subset of jobs, the State is unable or unwilling to impose a mandate to contribute. Thus, the job selection decision is bundled with a saving decision. The first finding is that bundling modifies the effective rate of return on contributions, raising it without bound as earnings in uncovered jobs become smaller (relative to earnings in covered jobs). Another finding is that the standard designs of first-pillar pensions reduce the equilibrium density of contributions. Thus, standard first-pillar designs do crowd out contributory pensions for the middle classes. The paper then analyzes two second-generation designs. The “proportional” minimum pension is found to create horizontal inequity and inefficiency. In contrast, a subsidy with a small withdrawal rate applied to contributory pensions minimizes the loss of contribution density. Optimal income taxation theory suggests that the latter also provides the most efficient progressive redistribution.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 335.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Social security; pensions; density;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-04-15 (All new papers)
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.:
- Salvador Valdés-Prieto, 2009. "The 2008 Chilean Reform to First-Pillar Pensions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2520, CESifo Group Munich.
- Chung Tran & Juergen Jung, 2007.
"The Extension of Social Security Coverage in Developing Countries,"
Caepr Working Papers
2007-026, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
- Jung, Juergen & Tran, Chung, 2012. "The extension of social security coverage in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 439-458.
- Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2011. "The Extension of Social Security Coverage in Developing Countries," Working Papers 2011-06, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2011.
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