Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Social Security Money's Worth

Contents:

Author Info

  • John Geanakoplos
  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • Stephen P. Zeldes

Abstract

This paper describes how three money's worth measures the benefit-to-tax ratio, the internal rate of return, and the net present value are calculated and used in analyses of social security reforms, including systems with privately managed individual accounts invested in equities. Declining returns from the U.S. social security system prove to be the inevitable result of having instituted an unfunded (pay-as-you-go) retirement system that delivered $7.9 trillion of net transfers (in 1997 present value dollars) to people born before 1917, and will deliver another $1.8 trillion to people born between 1918 and 1937. But young and future workers cannot necessarily do better by investing their payroll taxes in capital markets. If the old system were closed down, massive unfunded liabilities of $9-10 trillion would still have to be paid unless already accrued benefits were cut. Alternative methods of calculating these accrued benefits yield somewhat different numbers: the straight line calculation is $800 billion less than the constant benefit calculation we propose as the benchmark. Using this benchmark in a world with no uncertainty, we show that privatization without prefunding would not increase returns at all, net of the new taxes needed to pay for unfunded liabilities. These new taxes would amount to 3.6 percent of payroll, or about 29 percent of social security contributions. Prefunding, implemented by reducing accrued benefits or by raising taxes, would eventually increase money's worth for later generations, but at the cost of lower money's worth for today's workers and/or retirees. Computing money's worth when there is uncertainty is much more difficult unless four conditions hold prices into stocks and out of bonds has no effect whatsoever on money's worth when it i adjusted for risk: a dollar of stock is worth no more than a dollar of bonds. diversification can raise welfare for constrained households, but the exact money's worth must depend on specific assump

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Download Info

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania in its series Pension Research Council Working Papers with number 97-20.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Prospects for Social Security Reform. 1999: 79-151.
Handle: RePEc:wop:pennpr:97-20

Contact details of provider:
Postal: The Wharton School, 3641 Locust Walk, 304 CPC, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6218
Phone: 215-898-7620
Fax: 215-898-0310
Email:
Web page: http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords:

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Peter Diamond & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Social Security and Retirement in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 6097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  3. Stephen A. O'Connell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1994. "Dynamic Efficiency in the Gifts Economy," NBER Working Papers 4318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Steven Caldwell & Melissa Favreault & Alla Gantman & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Thomas Johnson, 1998. "Social Security's Treatment of Postwar Americans," NBER Working Papers 6603, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Olivia S. Mitchell & Flavio Ataliba Barreto, . "After Chile, What? Second-Round Social Security Reforms in Latin America," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-4, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Olivia S. Mitchell & James M. Poterba & Mark J. Warshawsky, 2000. "New Evidence on the Money's Worth of Individual Annuities," NBER Working Papers 6002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1989. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
  9. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1998. "Social security reform in Latin America," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Mar, pages 15-18.
  10. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1997. "The Economics of Prefunding Social Security and Medicare Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mitchell, Olivia S & Fields, Gary S, 1984. "The Economics of Retirement Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 84-105, January.
  12. Michael D. Hurd & John B. Shoven, 1985. "The Distributional Impact of Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 193-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Panis, C.W.A. & Lillard, L.A., 1996. "Socioeconomic Differentials in the Returns to Social Security," Papers 96-05, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  14. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1989. "On the Contribution of Economics to the Evaluation and Formation of Social Insurance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 184-90, May.
  15. James E. Duggan & Robert Gillingham & John S. Greenlees, 1993. "Returns Paid To Early Social Security Cohorts," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 11(4), pages 1-13, October.
  16. Jeffrey A. Miron & David N. Weil, 1997. "The Genesis and Evolution of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 5949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
  18. Robert A. Moffitt, 1984. "Trends in Social Security Wealth by Cohort," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Transfers in the United States, pages 327-358 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1998. "The Transition Path in Privatizing Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 215-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Martin Feldstein, 1997. "Transition to a Fully Funded Pension System: Five Economic Issues," NBER Working Papers 6149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Thompson, Lawrence H, 1983. "The Social Security Reform Debate," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 1425-67, December.
  22. Michael J. Boskin & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Douglas J. Puffert & John B. Shoven, 1987. "Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations," NBER Working Papers 1891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1996. "Social Security Privatization: A Structure for Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-24.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:pennpr:97-20. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Hilary Farrell).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.