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Is altruism important for understanding the long-run effects of social security?

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  • Luisa Fuster

Abstract

This paper quantifies the effects of social security on capital accumulation and wealth distribution in a life cycle framework with altruistic individuals. The main findings of this paper are that the current U.S. social security system has a significant impact on capital accumulation and wealth distribution. I find that social security crowds out 8\% of the capital stock of an economy without social security. This effect is driven by the distortions of labor supply due to the taxation of labor income rather than by the intergenerational redistribution of income imposed by the social security system. In contrast to previous analysis of social security, I found that social security does not affect the savings rate of the economy. Another interesting finding is that even though the current U.S. social security system is progressive in its benefits, it may lead to a more disperse distribution of wealth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 234.

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Date of creation: Sep 1997
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:234

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Social security; capital accumulation; altruism; wealth distribution;

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References

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  1. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
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  9. 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.
  10. Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Cyclical and Secular Behavior of the Labor Input : Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Papers 36, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
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  13. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
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  17. Luis M. Cubeddu, 1996. "The intra-generational redistributive effects of social security," Economics Working Papers 168, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  18. Laitner, John, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 275-99, April.
  19. Mark Huggett, 1995. "The one-sector growth model with idiosyncratic shocks," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 105, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  20. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
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