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Inequality and social security reforms

  • Hairault, Jean-Olivier
  • Langot, Francois

This paper develops a quantitative Markovian overlapping generations model with altruistic individuals and incomplete financial markets in order to analyze the long-run distributional implications of two hypothetical public social security policy changes, made in response to impending future demographic shifts. The two policy changes considered are first, raising the tax rate while keeping the replacement rate constant and second, keeping the tax rate constant while lowering the replacement rate. Whereas this latter policy is detrimental to the relative situation of the retirees, the huge financial heterogeneity in the first scenario explains why the increase in the proportional labor tax is relatively badly absorbed by low-productivity workers, leading to an increase in welfare inequality. We show that the very popular idea that a more funded system would ineluctably lead to more inequalities in well-being can be justified only by focusing on the inequality of positions in case of general equilibrium.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 32 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 386-410

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:32:y:2008:i:2:p:386-410
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  1. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1998. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," Working Papers 9801, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2005. "Work and Leisure in the U. S. and Europe: Why so Different?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2068, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  5. Aiyagari, S Rao, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-84, August.
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  7. Luisa Fuster, 1997. "Is altruism important for understanding the long-run effects of social security?," Economics Working Papers 234, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  8. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
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  10. Attanasio, Orazio P, et al, 1999. "Humps and Bumps in Lifetime Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 22-35, January.
  11. David Domeij & Paul Klein, 2002. "Private Pensions: To What Extent Do They Account for Swedish Wealth Inequality?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 503-534, July.
  12. Anne Laferrère & Luc Arrondel, 1991. "Successions et héritiers à travers les données fiscales," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 100(4), pages 137-159.
  13. 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.
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  15. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
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