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Social Security And Retirement Decision: A Positive And Normative Approach

  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Jean-Marie Lozachmeur
  • Pierre Pestieau

Social insurance for the elderly is judged responsible for the widely observed trend towards early retirement. In a world of laissez-faire or in a first-best setting, there would be no such trend. However, when first-best instruments are not available, because health and productivity are not observable, the optimal social insurance policy may imply a distortion on the retirement decision. The main point we make is that while there is no doubt that retirement systems induce an excessive bias towards early retirement in many countries, a complete elimination of this bias (i.e. a switch to an actuarially fair system) is not the right answer for two reasons. First, some distortions are second-best optimal. This is the normative argument. Second, and on the positive side, the elimination of the bias might be problematic from a political perspective. Depending on the political process, either it may not be feasible or alternatively it may tend to undermine the political support for the pension system itself. Copyright 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation � 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Economic Surveys.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 213-233

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:213-233
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  2. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Social security, retirement age and optimal income taxation," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1722, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Pestieau, P., 2001. "Are We Retiring Too Early?," Liege - Groupe d'Etude des Mathematiques du Management et de l'Economie 2001/03, UNIVERSITE DE LIEGE, Faculte d'economie, de gestion et de sciences sociales, Groupe d'Etude des Mathematiques du Management et de l'Economie.
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