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Perspectives from the President's Commission on Social Security Reform

Listed author(s):
  • John F. Cogan
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Recently we were asked to serve on the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security (CSSS) along with 14 other members drawn equally from both major political parties. The Commission's charge was to provide recommendations to modernize the Social Security system, restore its fiscal soundness, and develop a workable system of Personal Retirement Accounts. This paper explains how the Commission arrived at some of its recommendations and the role that economics played in contributing to these recommendations. We describe the key institutional constraints confronting efforts to reform Social Security and how these constraints influenced Commission decisions. We also illustrate how economics research influenced the Commission's analysis of how to structure personal accounts, ways to enhance traditional Social Security program finances, and means of measuring the extent of financial progress achieved through reform.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533003765888485
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 17 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 149-172

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:2:p:149-172
Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003765888485
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
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  1. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B. (ed.), 2002. "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226241067.
  2. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 1-14, May.
  3. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld02-1, December.
  4. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Mitchell, Olivia S. & Poterba, James M. & Warshawsky, Mark J., 2001. "The Role of Annuity Markets in Financing Retirement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262529130, December.
  5. John B. Shoven, 2000. "Administrative Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number shov00-1, December.
  6. Henry J. Aaron & John B. Shoven, 1999. "Should the United States Privatize Social Security?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262011743 edited by Benjamin M. Friedman, January.
  7. Richard V. Burkhauser & Mary C. Daly, 2002. "Policy Watch: U.S. Disability Policy in a Changing Environment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 213-224, Winter.
  8. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2001. "How effective is redistribution under the social security benefit formula?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-28, October.
  9. Robert Haveman, 1994. "Should Generational Accounts Replace Public Budgets and Deficits?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 95-111, Winter.
  10. Ranguelova, Elena & Feldstein, Martin S., 2000. "Accumulated Pension Collars: A Market Approach to Reducing The Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," Scholarly Articles 10456097, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Samwick, Andrew & Feldstein, Martin, 2001. "Potential Paths of Social Security Reform," Scholarly Articles 2920119, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1994. "Generational Accounting: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 73-94, Winter.
  13. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2004. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub04-1, December.
  14. Martin S. Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Introduction to "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform"," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova, 2001. "Accumulated Pension Collars: A Market Approach to Reducing the Risk of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 15, pages 149-166 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gramlich, Edward M, 1996. "Different Approaches for Dealing with Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 358-362, May.
  17. John B. Shoven, 2000. "Introduction to "Administrative Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform"," NBER Chapters,in: Administrative Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Smetters, Kent, 2002. "Controlling the cost of minimum benefit guarantees in public pension conversions," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 9-33, March.
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