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Government debt and social security in a life-cycle economy

  • Gertler, Mark

This paper develops a tractable overlapping generations model that is useful for analyzing both the short and long run impact of fiscal policy and social security. It modifies the Blanchard (1985)/Weil (1987) framework to allow for life/cycle behavior. This is accomplished by introducing random transition from work to retirement, and then from retirement to death. The transition probabilities may be picked to allow for realistic average lengths of life, work and retirement. The resulting framework is not appreciably more difficult to analyze than the standard Cass/Koopmans one sector growth model: Besides the capital stock, there is only one additional state variable: the distribution of wealth between workers and retirees. Under reasonable parameter values, government debt and social security have significant effects on capital intensity.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 50 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 61-110

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Handle: RePEc:eee:crcspp:v:50:y:1999:i::p:61-110
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jme

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  1. Romer, D., 1988. "What Are The Costs Of Excessive Deficits?," Papers 14, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  2. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1988. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Y. Campbell, Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(3), pages 195-228.
  5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Farmer, Roger E A, 1990. "Rince Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 43-60, February.
  7. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  8. Weil, Philippe, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42, February.
  9. Gali, Jordi, 1990. "Finite horizons, life-cycle savings, and time-series evidence on consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 433-452, December.
  10. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
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