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Optimal Social Insurance and Health Inequality

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  • Volker Grossmann
  • Holger Strulik

Abstract

This paper integrates into public economics a biologically founded, stochastic process of individual aging. The novel approach enables us to quantitatively characterize the optimal joint design of health and retirement policy behind the veil of ignorance for today and in response to future medical progress. Calibrating our model to Germany, our analysis suggests that the current social insurance policy instruments are set close to the (constrained) socially optimal levels, given proportional contribution rates for health and pension finance, the equivalence principle in the pension system, and a common statutory retirement age. Future progress in medical technology calls for a potentially drastic increase in health spending and a higher retirement age without lowering the pension contribution rate. Interestingly, from an ex ante point of view, medical progress and higher health spending are in conflict with the goal to reduce health inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Volker Grossmann & Holger Strulik, 2019. "Optimal Social Insurance and Health Inequality," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(4), pages 913-948, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:20:y:2019:i:4:p:e913-e948
    DOI: 10.1111/geer.12198
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    Cited by:

    1. Johannes Schuenemann & Holger Strulik & Timo Trimborn, . "The Marriage Gap: Optimal Aging and Death in Partnerships," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Böhm, Sebastian & Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2017. "R&D-driven medical progess, health care costs, and the future of human longevity," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 325, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "The gender gap in mortality: How much is explained by behavior?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 79-90.
    4. Trimborn, Timo & Schünemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger, 2016. "Disentangling the Gender Gap in Longevity," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145570, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • C60 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - General

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