Imperfect Annuity Markets, Unintended Bequests, and the Optimal Age Structure of Social Security Benefits
AbstractThe social security program now provides a constant real benefit throughout each retirees lifetime. This paper examines whether total welfare would rise if benefits were lower in early retirement years (when most individuals have some saving with which to finance consumption) and higher in later years (when the uncertainty of survival and the absence of actuarially fair private annuities makes the availability of social security benefits more important.) The analysis shows that there is a potentially important difference between the structure of benefits that would be preferred by the current population of workers and retirees and the structure of benefits that would maximize the steady state level of social welfare. This difference reflects the role of unintended bequests. The provision of higher benefits to older retirees reduces individually optimal savings and therefore the level of unintended bequests. While those bequests may have no value to the retirees, they are clearly of value to the young workers who will receive those bequests. More generally, the system of level benefits raises the steady state level of the capital stock and of total real income. The present paper provides an explicit analysis of a case in which the current workers want benefits to increase with age while the social security system that maximizes steady state welfare would provide higher benefits to young retirees than to the very old.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2820.
Date of creation: Jan 1989
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- Feldstein, Martin, 1990. "Imperfect annuity markets, unintended bequests, and the optimal age structure of social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 31-43, February.
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.:
- Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
- de la Croix, David & Pierrard, Olivier & Sneessens, Henri R., 2013.
"Aging and pensions in general equilibrium: Labor market imperfections matter,"
Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control,
Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 104-124.
- David de la Croix & Olivier Pierrard & Henri Sneessens, 2010. "Aging and Pensions in General Equilibrium: Labor Market Imperfections Matter," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2010037, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
- de la Croix, David & Pierrard, Olivier & Sneessens, Henri R., 2010. "Aging and Pensions in General Equilibrium: Labor Market Imperfections Matter," IZA Discussion Papers 5276, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- David de la Croix & Olivier Pierrard & Henri R. Sneessens, 2010. "Aging and Pensions in General Equilibrium: Labor Market Imperfections Matter," CREA Discussion Paper Series 10-09, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
- David de la Croix & Olivier Pierrard & Henri R. Sneessens, 2011. "Aging and Pensions in General Equilibrium: Labor Market Imperfections Matter," BCL working papers 62, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
- Hans-Werner Sinn, 1998.
"The Pay-As-You-Go Pension System as a Fertility Insurance and Enforcement Device,"
NBER Working Papers
6610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1998. "The Pay-As You-Go Pension System as a Fertility Insurance and Enforcement Device," CEPR Discussion Papers 2023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alan D. Viard, 2006.
"The welfare effects of pay-as-you-go retirement programs: the role of tax and benefit timing,"
0602, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
- 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.
- Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2004.
"The pay-as-you-go pension system as fertility insurance and an enforcement device,"
Munich Reprints in Economics
938, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2004. "The pay-as-you-go pension system as fertility insurance and an enforcement device," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1335-1357, July.
- Schröder, Carsten, 2012.
"Profitability of pension contributions – evidence from real-life employment biographies,"
Journal of Pension Economics and Finance,
Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 311-336, July.
- Carsten Schröder, 2010. "Profitability of Pension Contributions: Evidence from Real-Life Employment Biographies," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1057, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Zhang, Jie & Zhang, Junsen & Lee, Ronald, 2003. "Rising longevity, education, savings, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 83-101, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.