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Public pensions and growth

  • Lambrecht, Stephane
  • Michel, Philippe
  • Vidal, Jean-Pierre

This paper investigates the relationship between the size of an unfunded public pension system and economic growth in an overlapping generation economy, in which altruistic parents finance the education of their children and leave bequests. Unlike the existing literature, we model intergenerational altruism by assuming that children's income during adulthood is an argument of parental utility. Unfunded public pensions can promote growth when families face liquidity constraints preventing them from investing optimally in the education of their children. We consider two alternative ways of financing a public pension system, either by levying social contributions in a lump-sum manner or in proportion to labour income. We find that there is no case for unfunded public pensions in economies where bequests are operative. By contrast, there exists a growth-maximising size of the public pension system in economies where bequests are not operative and individuals are sufficiently patient JEL Classification: H55, I20, D91

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 49 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5 (July)
Pages: 1261-1281

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:49:y:2005:i:5:p:1261-1281
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  1. MICHEL, Philippe & PESTIEAUÂ , Pierre, 1994. "Fiscal Policy in a Growth Model with Both Altruistic and Non Altruistic Agents," CORE Discussion Papers 1994049, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Andrew B. Abel, . "Operative Gift and Bequest Motives," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 9-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  3. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  4. Kaganovich, Michael & Zilcha, Itzhak, 1999. "Education, social security, and growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 289-309, February.
  5. Emmanuel Thibault, 2000. "Existence of equilibrium in an OLG model with production and altruistic preferences," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 709-715.
  6. Caballe, Jordi, 1995. "Endogenous Growth, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 156-81, January.
  7. Willi Leibfritz & John Thornton & Alexandra Bibbee, 1997. "Taxation and Economic Performance," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 176, OECD Publishing.
  8. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Love thy children : Reflections on the Barro debt neutrality theorem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-391, May.
  10. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  11. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
  12. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  13. Sanchez-Losada, Fernando, 2000. "Growth effects of an unfunded social security system when there is altruism and human capital," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 95-99, October.
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