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Myopia, redistribution and pensions

  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Pestieau, Pierre

This paper reviews a number of recent contributions that study pension design with myopic individuals. Its objective is to explore how the presence of more or less myopic individuals affects pension design when individuals differ also in productivity. This double heterogeneity gives rise to an interesting interplay between paternalistic and redistributive considerations, which is at the heart of most of the results that are presented. The main part of the paper is devoted to the issue of pension design when myopic individual do not save "enough" for their retirement because their "myopic self" (with a high discount rate) emerges when labor supply and savings decisions are made. Some extensions and variations are considered in the second part. In particular we deal with situations where labor disutility or preferences for consumption are subject to "habit formation" and where sin goods have a detrimental effect on second period health. Myopic individuals tend to underestimate the effects of both habit formation and sinful consumption, which complicates public policy.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 55 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 165-175

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:2:p:165-175
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  1. CREMER, Helmuth & DE DONDER, Philippe & MALDONADO, Dario & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2006. "Voting over type and generosity of a pension system when some individuals are myopic," CORE Discussion Papers 2006079, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Hans Fehr & Fabian Kindermann, 2009. "Pension funding and individual accounts in economies with life-cyclers and myopes," Working Papers 2009/23, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  3. PESTIEAU , Pierre & POSSEN , Uri , 2008. "Prodigality and myopia. Two rationales for social security," CORE Discussion Papers 2008011, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
  5. Sanna Tenhunen & Matti Tuomala, 2007. "On optimal lifetime redistribution policy," Working Papers 0750, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2001. "Imperfect Knowledge, Retirement and Saving," Working Papers wp012, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2008. "Social Security with Rational and Hyperbolic Consumers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 884-903, October.
  8. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe Donder & Dario Maldonado & Pierre Pestieau, 2008. "Designing a linear pension scheme with forced savings and wage heterogeneity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 547-562, October.
  9. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
  10. T. Findley & Frank Caliendo, 2009. "Short horizons, time inconsistency, and optimal social security," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 487-513, August.
  11. Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Taxation, Incomplete Markets, and Social Security," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262541823, June.
  12. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 2000. "Time inconsistent preferences and Social Security," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 136, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Salanie, Francois & Treich, Nicolas, 2006. "Over-savings and hyperbolic discounting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1557-1570, August.
  14. Feldstein, Martin S, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-20, May.
  15. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  16. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Docquier, Frederic, 2002. "On the optimality of public pensions in an economy with life-cyclers and myopes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 121-140, January.
  18. T. Findley & Frank Caliendo, 2008. "The behavioral justification for public pensions: a survey," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 409-425, October.
  19. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Myopia and the Effects of Social Security and Capital Taxation on Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 12452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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