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Social security and the rise in health spending: a macroeconomic analysis

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  • Zhao, Kai

Abstract

In this paper, I develop a quantitative macroeconomic model with endogenous health and endogenous longevity and use it to study the impact of Social Security on aggregate health spending. I find that Social Security increases the aggregate health spending of the economy via two channels. First, Social Security transfers resources from the young with low marginal propensity to spend on health care to the elderly (age 65+) with high marginal propensity to spend on health care. Second, Social Security raises people's expected future utility and thus increases the marginal benefit from investing in health to live longer. In the calibrated version of the model, I show that the positive impact of Social Security on aggregate health spending is quantitatively important. The expansion of US Social Security since 1950 can account for approximately 43% of the dramatic rise in US health spending as a share of GDP over the same period (i.e. from 4% of GDP in 1950 to 13% of GDP in 2000). I also find that this positive impact of Social Security has two interesting policy implications. First, the negative effect of Social Security on capital accumulation in this model is significantly smaller than what previous studies have found, because Social Security induces extra years of life via health spending and thus encourages private savings for retirement. Second, Social Security has a significant spill-over effect on public health insurance programs (e.g. Medicare). As Social Security increases health spending and longevity, it also increases the insurance payments from these programs, thus raising their financial burden.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34203.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34203

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Keywords: Social Security; Health Spending; Savings; Longevity;

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  1. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security And Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119, August.
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  24. Follette, Glenn & Sheiner, Louise, 2005. "The Sustainability of Health Spending Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(3), pages 391-408, September.
  25. 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, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1247-1274, November.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Social security and the increase in US health care costs
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-12-12 15:12:00
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. He, Hui & Huang, Kevin X. D. & Hung, Sheng-Ti, 2014. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health? When Ruhm Meets GHH," Dynare Working Papers 31, CEPREMAP.
  3. Hui He & Hao Zhang & Tim Halliday, 2010. "Health Investment over the Life-Cycle," 2010 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 1179, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Kevin X. D. Huang & Hui He, 2013. "Why Do Americans Spend So Much More on Health Care than Europeans?," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00021, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  5. Kevin x.d. Huang & Hui He & Sheng-ti Hung, 2013. "Substituting Leisure for Health Expenditure: A General Equilibrium-Based Empirical Investigation," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00020, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  6. Hui He & Kevin x.d. Huang, 2013. "Why Do Americans Spend So Much More on Health Care than Europeans?--A General Equilibrium Macroeconomic Analysis," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 13-00005, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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