Population ageing and intertemporal consumption: Representative agent versus social planner
This paper examines the optimal path of consumption over time in the context of population ageing. Older age groups are considered to have relatively greater 'needs', resulting for example from additional health costs. These differences give rise to the concept of the 'equivalent number of persons', as distinct from the population size. Emphasis is given to the difference between a framework involving a representative agent and one in which plans are made by a social planner. The precise conditions under which consumption growth paths are the same under the representative agent and the social planner are established. This equivalence is found to hold only in the case where the social planner's value judgements are such that individuals are considered to be the appropriate unit of analysis. An alternative assumption, in which equivalent persons are regarded as the appropriate units, is found to give rise to a different optimal consumption path. Numerical examples demonstrate the relative orders of magnitude for a range of parameter values. The differences are found to be potentially important. The choice of appropriate consumption units - individuals or equivalent persons - is far from arbitrary since it involves possibly conflicting value judgements. This choice has implications for policies designed to influence the optimal saving rate, such as superannuation policy and the fiscal balance.
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.
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.
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.:
- Cutler, David M & Katz, Lawrence F, 1992.
"Rising Inequality? Changes in the Distribution of Income and Consumption in the 1980's,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 546-51, May.
- David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Rising Inequality? Changes in the Distribution of Income and Consumption in the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 3964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Arthur Lewbel, 1989. "Exact Aggregation and a Representative Consumer," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(3), pages 621-633.
- André Decoster & Erwin Ooghe, 2002. "Weighting with individuals, equivalent individuals, or not weighting at all. Does it matter empirically?," Public Economics Working Paper Series ces0215, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
- Roeger, Werner & in 't Veld, Jan, 2004.
"Some selected simulation experiments with the European commission's QUEST model,"
Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 785-832, September.
- Werner Röger & Jan in 't Veld, 2002. "Some selected simulation experiments with the European Commission's QUEST model," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 178, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
- Anthony Shorrocks, 2004. "Inequality and welfare evaluation of heterogeneous income distributions," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 2(3), pages 193-218, July.
- Glewwe, Paul, 1991. "Household equivalence scales and the measurement of inequality : Transfers from the poor to the rich could decrease inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 211-216, March.
- Ebert, Udo, 1997. "Social Welfare When Needs Differ: An Axiomatic Approach," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 64(254), pages 233-44, May.
- Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, March.
- Barro, Robert J., 1979.
"On the Determination of the Public Debt,"
3451400, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- John Creedy & Cath Sleeman, 2005.
"Adult equivalence scales, inequality and poverty,"
New Zealand Economic Papers,
Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 51-81.
- Faruqee, Hamid & Muhleisen, Martin, 2003.
"Population aging in Japan: demographic shock and fiscal sustainability,"
Japan and the World Economy,
Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 185-210, April.
- Martin MÃ¼hleisen & Hamid Faruqee, 2001. "Population Aging in Japan; Demographic Shock and Fiscal Sustainability," IMF Working Papers 01/40, International Monetary Fund.
- Robert J. Barro, 1995.
"Inflation and Economic Growth,"
NBER Working Papers
5326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Productivity Commission, 2005. "Economic Implications of an Ageing Australia," Labor and Demography 0506001, EconWPA.
- Banks, James & Johnson, Paul, 1994. "Equivalence Scale Relativities Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 883-90, July.
- Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
- John Creedy, 2006. "Evaluating Policy: Welfare Weights And Value Judgements," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 971, The University of Melbourne.
- Shorrocks, Anthony, 2004. "Inequality and Welfare Evaluation of Heterogeneous Income Distributions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
- Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
- Dave Turner & Claude Giorno & Alain de Serres & Ann Vourc'h & Pete Richardson, 1998. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Ageing in a Global Context," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 193, OECD Publishing.
- Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecmode:v:25:y:2008:i:3:p:485-498. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)
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.