Intergenerational transfer institutions public education and public pensions
AbstractIn a world in which credit markets to finance investments in human capital are rare, the competitive equilibrium allocation generally cannot achieve either static or dynamic efficiency. When generations overlap, this inefficiency can be overcome by properly designed institutions. We study the working of two such institutions: Public Education and Public Pensions. We argue that, when established jointly, they implement an intergenerational dynamic game of taxes and transfers through which public education for the young and public pensions for the elderly support each other. Through the public financing of education, the young borrow from the middle age to invest in human capital. When employed, they pay back their debt by means of a social security tax on labor income. The proceedings of the latter are used to finance pension payments to the now elderly lenders. We also show that such intergenerational agreement can be supported as a sub game perfect equilibrium of, relatively straightforward, majority voting games. While the intertemporal allocation so obtained does not necessarily reach full dynamic efficiency it does so under certain restrictions and it always improves upon the laissez-faire allocation. We test the main predictions of our model by using micro and macro data from Spain. The results are surprisingly good.
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Intergenerational contract; Efficiency; Human capital; Political equilibria;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGE-2011-07-13 (Economics of Ageing)
- NEP-ALL-2011-07-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-2011-07-13 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-LAB-2011-07-13 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-POL-2011-07-13 (Positive Political Economics)
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