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Growth and social security: the role of human capital


  • Kemnitz, Alexander
  • Wigger, Berthold U.


This paper studies the growth and efficiency effects of pay-as-you-go financed social security when human capital is the engine of growth. Employing a variant of the Lucas (1988) model with overlapping generations, it is shown that a properly designed unfunded social security system leads to higher output growth than a fully funded one. Furthermore, the economy with unfunded social security is efficient while the other one is not. These results stand in sharp contrast to those that obtain in models where economic growth is driven by physical capital accumulation.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kemnitz, Alexander & Wigger, Berthold U., 2000. "Growth and social security: the role of human capital," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 673-683, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:16:y:2000:i:4:p:673-683

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Robert C. Merton, 1981. "On the Role of Social Security as a Means for Efficient Risk-Bearing in an Economy Where Human Capital Is Not Tradeable," NBER Working Papers 0743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1992. "Fiscal Policy in an Endogenous Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1243-1259.
    4. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1998. "The Pay-as-you-go Pension System as a Fertility Insurance and Enforcement Device," CESifo Working Paper Series 154, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    6. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1994. "Human Capital Distribution, Technological Progress, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 971, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Freeman, Scott & Polasky, Stephen, 1992. "Knowledge-based growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 3-24, October.
    8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gilles Le Garrec, 2015. "Increased longevity and social security reform: questioning the optimality of individual accounts when education matters," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 329-352, April.
    2. Vesna Stavrevska, 2011. "The efficiency wages perspective to wage rigidity in the open economy: a survey," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 273-299, June.
    3. Buyse, Tim & Heylen, Freddy & Van De Kerckhove, Renaat, 2017. "Pension reform in an OLG model with heterogeneous abilities," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(02), pages 144-172, April.
    4. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09hi6860cc6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Willem Devriendt & Freddy Heylen, 2017. "Macroeconomic Effects Of Demographic Change In An Olg Model For A Small Open Economy - The Case Of Belgium -," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 17/931, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    6. Heer, Burkhard & Irmen, Andreas, 2014. "Population, pensions, and endogenous economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 50-72.
    7. Michael Kaganovich & Volker Meier, 2012. "Social Security Systems, Human Capital, and Growth in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(4), pages 573-600, August.
    8. Gilles Le Garrec & Stéphane Lhuissier, 2011. "Life expectancy, heavy work and the return to education: lessons for the social security reform," Working Papers hal-01069511, HAL.
    9. Renaat Van de Kerckhove & Freddy Heylen & Tim Buyse, 2011. "Pension reform, employment by age, and long-run growth in OECD countries," 2011 Meeting Papers 736, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Berthold Wigger, 2005. "Public Debt, Human Capital Formation, and Dynamic Inefficiency," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 12(1), pages 47-59, January.
    11. Theodore Palivos, 2009. "Welfare effects of illegal immigration," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(1), pages 131-144, January.
    12. Weizsäcker, Robert K. von & Wigger, Berthold U., 2001. "Rentenfinanzierung und intergenerationelle Gerechtigkeit : Eine wachstumstheoretische Perspektive," Discussion Papers 606, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
    13. Campbell, James D., 2015. "Ownership and pricing of information: A model and application to open access," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 29-42.
    14. Dimiter Philipov & Anne Goujon & Paola Di Giulio, 2014. "Ageing dynamics of a human-capital-specific population," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 31(44), pages 1311-1336, December.
    15. Tim Buyse & Freddy Heylen & Renaat Van de Kerckhove, 2013. "Pension reform, employment by age, and long-run growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 769-809, April.
    16. Gilles Le Garrec & Stéphane Lhuissier, 2011. "Life expectancy, heavy work and return to education ; lessons for the social security reform," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2011-18, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    17. Parello, Carmelo Pierpaolo, 2012. "Indeterminacy in a dynamic small open economy with international migration," MPRA Paper 40013, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Pfeiffer Friedhelm & Stichnoth Holger, 2015. "Fiskalische und individuelle Bildungsrenditen – aktuelle Befunde für Deutschland," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(4), pages 393-411, December.
    19. Gilles Le Garrec, 2012. "Social security and growth in an aging economy : the case of acturial fairness," Sciences Po publications 2012-18, Sciences Po.
    20. Debus Martin & Michaelis Jochen, 2006. "Ausbildung, Erwerbsphase, Renteneintrittdemografischer Wandel und optimale Zeitallokation im Lebenszyklus / Education, Working Period, Retirement - Demographic Change and Optimal Time Allocation Withi," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 226(6), pages 611-628, December.
    21. Gilles Le Garrec, 2012. "Social security and growth in an aging economy : the case of acturial fairness," Working Papers hal-01070354, HAL.
    22. Debus, Martin & Michaelis, Jochen, 2006. "Ausbildung, Erwerbsphase, Renteneintritt: Demografischer Wandel und optimale Zeitallokation im Lebenszyklus," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 79, University of Kassel, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    23. Gilles Le Garrec, 2005. "Social security, inequality and growth," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2005-22, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    24. van Groezen, B.J.A.M. & Meijdam, A.C. & Verbon, H.A.A., 2002. "Social Security Reform and Population Ageing in a Two-Sector Growth Model," Discussion Paper 2002-25, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models


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