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

Age Bias in Fiscal Policy: Why Does the Political Process Favor the Elderly?

  • Slavov Sita Nataraj

    ()

    (Occidental College)

Across countries, government expenditures tend to favor the elderly. This paper provides a political economy explanation for this phenomenon. I consider the classic problem of dividing a fixed payoff in an overlapping generations setting. Any share of the payoff can be given to any generation. Using a new solution concept for majority rule in dynamic settings (Bernheim and Slavov, 2006), I demonstrate that policies favoring the old are easier to sustain politically than other policies. This result appears across a broad class of majoritarian institutions and thus reflects general forces at work in the political process. Age bias arises because it is easy to induce the young to support policies favoring the elderly by promising them large rewards later in their lives. On the other hand, older generations cannot be rewarded in a similar manner. This asymmetry helps to generate broad political support for large transfers to older individuals.

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.degruyter.com/view/j/bejte.2006.6.1/bejte.2006.6.1.1279/bejte.2006.6.1.1279.xml?format=INT
Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 6 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: 1-37

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejtec:v:topics.6:y:2006:i:1:n:11
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.degruyter.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/bejte

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. Panu Poutvaara, 2003. "On the Political Economy of Social Security and Public Education," Public Economics 0303001, EconWPA.
  2. Per Krusell & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 1997. "On the size of U.S. government: political economy in the neoclassical growth model," Staff Report 234, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1998. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-Lived Governments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1299-1329, September.
  4. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts - A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Working Papers 3589, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
  6. Marco Bassetto, 1999. "Political economy of taxation in an overlapping-generations economy," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 133, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Costas Azariadis & Vincenzo Galasso, 1998. "Constitutional “Rules” and Intergenerational Fiscal Policy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 67-74, March.
  8. Michele Boldrin & Ana Montes, 2004. "The intergenerational state: education and pensions," Staff Report 336, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  10. Krusell, Per & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 301-29, April.
  11. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Gerontocracy, retirement, and social security," Economics Working Papers 383, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  12. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
  13. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
  14. Dickson, Eric S & Shepsle, Kenneth A, 2001. "Working and Shirking: Equilibrium in Public-Goods Games with Overlapping Generations of Players," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 285-318, October.
  15. Michele Boldrin & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Political Equilibria with Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 41-78, January.
  16. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  17. Dennis Epple & Michael Riordan, 1987. "Cooperation and punishment under repeated majority voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 55(1), pages 41-73, September.
  18. Kramer, Gerald H, 1973. "On a Class of Equilibrium Conditions for Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(2), pages 285-97, March.
  19. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martín, 2003. "Social security, retirement, and the single-mindedness of the electorate," Economics Working Papers 686, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  20. Guido Tabellini, 1989. "The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 3058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Baron, David P & Ferejohn, John, 1987. "Bargaining and Agenda Formation in Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 303-09, May.
  22. B. Douglas Bernheim & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2007. "A Solution Concept for Majority Rule in Dynamic Settings," Discussion Papers 07-029, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  23. Antonio Rangel, 2003. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: Why Is Social Security Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 813-834, June.
  24. Thomas F. Cooley & Jorge Soares, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Social Security Based on Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 135-160, February.
  25. Cremer, Jacques, 1986. "Cooperation in Ongoing Organizations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 33-49, February.
  26. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1989. "A Political Theory of Government Debt and Deficits in a Neo-Ricardian Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(4), pages 713-32, September.
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:bpj:bejtec:v:topics.6:y:2006:i:1:n:11. 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: (Peter Golla)

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.