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Pay-as-you-go social security and the distribution of bequests

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  • Jordi Caballé
  • Luisa Fuster

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of an unfunded social security system on the distribution of bequests in a framework where savings are due both by life cycle and by random altruistic motivations. We show that the impact of social security on the distribution of bequests depends crucially on the importance of the bequest motive in explaining savings behavior. If the bequest motive is strong, then an increase in the social security tax raises the bequests left by altruistic parents. On the other hand, when the importance of bequests in motivating savings is sufficiently low, the increase in the social security tax could result in a reduction of the bequests left by altruistic parents under some conditions on the attitude of individuals toward risk and on the relative returns associated with private saving and social security. Some implications concerning the transitional effects of introducing an unfunded social security scheme are also discussed.

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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 468.

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Date of creation: Feb 2000
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:468

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

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Keywords: Social security; altruism; bequests;

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  2. Davies, James B, 1986. "Does Redistribution Reduce Inequality?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 538-59, October.
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  5. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  8. 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..
  9. Karni, Edi & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1989. "Aggregate and distributional effects of fair social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 37-56, October.
  10. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. MICHEL, Ph. & PESTIEAU, P., . "Fiscal policy in a growth model with both altruistic and nonaltruistic agents," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1301, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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Cited by:
  1. Jordi Caballé & Ana I. Moro Egido, 2008. "The Effect of Aspirations, Habits, and Social Security on the Distribution of Wealth," ThE Papers 08/02, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
  2. Yang, Fang, 2013. "Social security reform with impure intergenerational altruism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-67.
  3. Hénin, Pierre-Yves & Weitzenblum, Thomas, 2003. "Redistribution through alternative pension reforms: A life-cycle analysis on French occupational groups," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 0307, CEPREMAP.

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