IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

On the optimality of public pensions in an economy with life-cyclers and myopes


  • Docquier, Frederic


In this paper, we develop a two-period overlapping generations model with two types of individuals, life-cyclers and myopes. We revisit Feldstein's problem by deriving the optimal level of social security using a social welfare function à la Samuelson (rather than à la Lerner). In opposition to the Lerner solution, our optimal pension benefit exhibits several interesting properties (dynamic efficiency, egalitarism, easy implementation). Then the opportunity to move to a partially funded system is examined. It turns out that a partially funded system ensures the equality of utility within and across generations. The effective use of funding opportunities is less a question of rate of return than a question of equal treatment of individuals. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:47:y:2002:i:1:p:121-140

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Belan, Pascal & Pestieau, Pierre, 1999. "Privatisation des systèmes de retraite : une évaluation critique," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 9-27, mars-juin.
    2. Brunner, Johann K., 1996. "Transition from a pay-as-you-go to a fully funded pension system: The case of differing individuals and intragenerational fairness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 131-146, April.
    3. Feldstein, Martin, 1987. "Should Social Security Benefits Be Means Tested?," Scholarly Articles 2770498, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    4. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
    5. 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 467-467.
    6. Sheng-Cheng Hu, 1996. "Myopia and Social Security Financing," Public Finance Review, , vol. 24(3), pages 319-348, July.
    7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1998. "Simulating the Privatization of Social Security in General Equilibrium," NBER Chapters,in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 265-311 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
    9. Breyer, Friedrich & Straub, Martin, 1993. "Welfare effects of unfunded pension systems when labor supply is endogenous," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 77-91, January.
    10. Peters, Wolfgang, 1991. "Public Pensions in Transition: An Optimal Policy Path," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 4(2), pages 155-175, May.
    11. Feldstein, Martin S, 1987. "Should Social Security Benefits Be Means Tested?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 468-484, June.
    12. BELAN, Pascal & MICHEL, Philippe & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1996. "Pareto improving social security reform with endogenous growth," CORE Discussion Papers 1996057, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    13. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2011. "Myopia, redistribution and pensions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 165-175, February.
    2. Mohamed Bouzahzah & Frédéric Docquier & Oliver Paddison, 2002. "Retraites, croissance et inégalités en présence d'individus myopes," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 155(4), pages 31-44.
    3. Guo, Nick L. & Caliendo, Frank N., 2014. "Time-inconsistent preferences and time-inconsistent policies," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 102-108.
    4. Caliendo, Frank N., 2011. "Time-inconsistent preferences and social security: Revisited in continuous time," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 668-675, May.
    5. Andras Simonovits, 2009. "Underreported earnings and age-specific income redistribution in post-socialist economies," IEHAS Discussion Papers 0927, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    6. T. Findley & Frank Caliendo, 2009. "Short horizons, time inconsistency, and optimal social security," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(4), pages 487-513, August.
    7. Joanna Tyrowicz & Krzysztof Makarski & Marcin Bielecki, 2016. "Reforming retirement age in DB and DC pension systems in an aging OLG economy with heterogenous agents," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-36, December.
    8. Cheng, Chu-Chuan & Chu, Hsun, 2017. "Optimal Policies for Sin Goods and Health Care: Tax or Subsidy?," MPRA Paper 80183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Gahramanov Emin, 2016. "On the Demographics and the Severity of the Social Security Crisis," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1001-1028, April.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:47:y:2002:i:1:p:121-140. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.