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Can Social Security be welfare improving when there is demographic uncertainty?

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  • Virginia Sanchez-Marcos & Alfonso Sanchez Martin

Abstract

This paper studies the welfare implications of a PAYG pension system in a neoclassical growth model with overlapping generations, demographic uncertainty and sequentially incomplete markets. In absence of public pensions, small cohorts tend to be favored by the changes in relative prices implied by demographic shocks. As described in Bohn (1999), PAYG Define Benefit systems can help to share the financial risks created by demographic uncertainty across the generations. The overall welfare impact depends on the balance between this insurance effect and the well known crowding-out effect stemming from the unfunded character of the system. Therefore, the question about the total welfare impact of PAYG pensions is intrinsically quantitative. In this paper we use a four-periods OLG model calibrated to the US economy to provide a first quantitative assessment of the relative size of the different effects involved.The findings are unfavorable for PAYG pension systems: the size of the crowding-out effect is large enough to offset the benefits from risk sharing, making the introduction of public pensions a welfare decreasing process (even in ex-ante terms). In particular, with a marginal PAYG pension scheme (providing a 2\% replacement rate of the average wage) small cohorts lose the equivalent to a 1.9% of their consumption in the age interval 20/40, while larger cohorts loss is 1.5%.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 with number 163.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf4:163

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Keywords: social security; demographic uncertainty; general equilibrium; life-cycle model;

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References

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  1. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1993. "Consumer demand and the life-cycle allocation of household expenditures," IFS Working Papers W93/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Luisa Fuster, 1997. "Is altruism important for understanding the long-run effects of social security?," Economics Working Papers 234, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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  16. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Social Security and Demographic Uncertainty: The Risk Sharing Properties of Alternative Policies," NBER Working Papers 7030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
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  19. HUANG, HE & IMROHOROG[caron]LU, SELAHATTIN & SARGENT, THOMAS J., 1997. "Two Computations To Fund Social Security," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 7-44, January.
  20. Andrew B. Abel, 2001. "Will Bequests Attenuate The Predicted Meltdown In Stock Prices When Baby Boomers Retire?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 589-595, November.
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  22. 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, vol. 44(4), pages 1247-1274, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Peter Broer, 2012. "Social Security and Macroeconomic Risk in General Equilibrium," CPB Discussion Paper 221, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  2. Shin, Inyong, 2012. "The Effect of Pension on the Optimized Life Expectancy and Lifetime Utility Level," MPRA Paper 41374, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2008. "Sharing Demographic Risk – Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2422, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Roel Beetsma & Ward Romp, 2013. "Participation Constraints in Pension Systems," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-149/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Jan Hagemejer & Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2013. "Efficiency of the pension reform: the welfare effects of various fiscal closures," Working Papers 2013-23, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  6. Clara Isabel González & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Michele Boldrin, 2008. "Immigration and Social Security in Spain," Working Papers 2008-36, FEDEA.
  7. Hans Fehr, 2009. "Computable Stochastic Equilibrium Models and Their Use in Pension- and Ageing Research," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(4), pages 359-416, December.
  8. Willem Heeringa, 2008. "Optimal life cycle investment with pay-as-you-go pension schemes: a portfolio approach," DNB Working Papers 168, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  9. Miyazato, Naomi, 2010. "The optimal size of Japan's public pensions: An analysis considering the risks of longevity and volatility of return on assets," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 31-39, January.

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