IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Overlapping Generations: The First Jubilee

  • Philippe Weil

Paul Samuelson's (1958) overlapping generations model has turned 50. Seldom has so simple a model been so influential. The paper, in spite of its ripe age, still elicits wonder. Starting from the uncontroversial observation that "we live in a world where new generations are always coming along," Samuelson built a model that violates the credo of the first fundamental welfare theorem with which we still inculcate undergraduates 50 years later. According to Samuelson, all is not necessarily well in the best of market economies: with overlapping generations, even absent the usual suspects such as distortions and market failures, a competitive equilibrium need not be Pareto efficient. Worst of all, this failure of the first welfare theorem in an overlapping generations model occurs in a framework that is, in many ways, more plausible and realistic than the world of agents living synchronous and finite existences in which the theorem is usually proved. Like Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile, the mysterious welfare properties of the overlapping generations model are, to a significant extent, responsible for its popularity -- along with the many economic issues it has illuminated in the last half-century. I take it as my brief in this celebratory paper to provide, after a short exposition of the main results of the overlapping generations model under certainty, an explanation of why the welfare properties of the overlapping generations model differ so much from the canonical Arrow-Debreu framework and to review, in a deliberately nonencyclopedic mode, a few striking applications and extensions of Samuelson's deceptively straightforward model.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.22.4.115
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 115-34

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:4:p:115-34
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.4.115
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

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. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1985. "On Endogenous Competitive Business Cycles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 995-1045, September.
  2. Geanakoplos, J D & Polemarchakis, H M, 1986. "Walrasian Indeterminacy and Keynesian Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 755-79, October.
  3. Piero Gottardi & Subir Chattopadhyay, 1999. "- Stochastic Olg Models, Market Structure And Optimality," Working Papers. Serie AD 1999-15, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  4. David Cass & Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "A Re-Examination of the Pure Consumption Loans Model," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 195, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. J. Bradford De Long & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, . "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," J. Bradford De Long's Working Papers _124, University of California at Berkeley, Economics Department.
  6. Andrew Abel & Gregory N. Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard Zeckhauser, . "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 14-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  7. Shell, Karl, 1971. "Notes on the Economics of Infinity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(5), pages 1002-11, Sept.-Oct.
  8. Ball, Laurence & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 2007. "Intergenerational Risk Sharing in the Spirit of Arrow, Debreu, and Rawls, with Applications to Social Security Design," Scholarly Articles 3443106, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Zilcha, Itzhak, 1991. "Characterizing efficiency in stochastic overlapping generations models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, October.
  10. Woodford, Michael, 1990. "Public Debt as Private Liquidity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 382-88, May.
  11. 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..
  12. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "Overlapping families of infinitely-lived agents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 183-198, March.
  13. Aiyagari, S. Rao & McGrattan, Ellen R., 1998. "The optimum quantity of debt," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 447-469, October.
  14. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  15. Balasko, Yves & Shell, Karl, 1980. "The overlapping-generations model, I: The case of pure exchange without money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 281-306, December.
  16. Zilcha, Itzhak, 1990. "Dynamic efficiency in overlapping generations models with stochastic production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 364-379, December.
  17. Tirole, Jean, 1985. "Asset Bubbles and Overlapping Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1499-1528, November.
  18. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Love thy children : Reflections on the Barro debt neutrality theorem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-391, May.
  19. Okuno, Masahiro & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1981. "A Proof of the Existence of Competitive Equilibrium in a Generation-Overlapping Exchange Economy with Money," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(1), pages 239-52, February.
  20. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1986. "Laws as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time Consistency Problem," NBER Working Papers 2068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Malinvaud, Edmond, 1987. "The Overlapping Generations Model in 1947," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 103-05, March.
  22. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  23. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1990. "The Noise Trader Approach to Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 19-33, Spring.
  24. Cass, David, 1972. "On capital overaccumulation in the aggregative, neoclassical model of economic growth: A complete characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 200-223, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:4:p:115-34. 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: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.