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Some Inefficiency Implication of Generational Politics and Exchange

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  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • Robert W. Rosenthal

Abstract

Generational selfishness is a central assumption in the vast literature on the life cycle model. Much of this literature deals with the impact of alternative government policies in light of self-interested generational behavior. Surprisingly, the choices of governments in virtually all of these analyses are assumed to be independent of the preferences of the selfish generations these governments presumably represent. We address this anomaly by modeling each generation as having a government that strictly represents the economy along a number of dimensions. We consider two types of inefficiencies that have received little or no attention in the literature. The first is the monopolization of factor supplies, and the second is the under- or overprovision of durable public goods. We demonstrate that selfish generations may place sizable marginal taxes on their factor supplies in order to monopolize their factor markets. We also show that selfish generations will provide inefficient levels of durable public goods both at the local and national levels. Finally, we demonstrate that generational inefficiencies can arise even in models of cooperative bargaining because of the first-mover advantage of earlier generations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3354.

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Date of creation: May 1990
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Publication status: published as Economics and Politics, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 27-42 (March 1993)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3354

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  1. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
  2. Sadka, Efraim, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 261-67, June.
  3. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-77, September.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  6. 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.
  7. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1982. "The Theory of Local Public Goods Twenty-Five Years After Tiebout: A Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Antonio Rangel, 2005. "How to Protect Future Generations Using Tax-Base Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 314-346, March.
  2. Glazer, Amihai & Kanniainen, Vesa & Niskanen, Esko, 2003. "Bequests, control rights, and cost-benefit analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 71-82, March.
  3. Gonzales-Eiras, Martín & Niepelt, Dirk, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Seminar Papers 731, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  4. Antonio Rangel, 1999. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: A Theory of Intergenerational Exchange," Working Papers 00001, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  5. Antonio Rangel, 2002. "How to Protect Future Generations Using Tax Base Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 9179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. M. Magnani, 2005. "Labour market regulation and retirement age," Economics Department Working Papers 2005-EP02, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
  7. Cellarier, Laurent L., 2013. "A family production overlapping generations economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2168-2179.

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