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Welfare and generational equity in sustainable unfunded pension systems

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  • Auerbach, Alan J.
  • Lee, Ronald

Abstract

Using stochastic simulations we analyze how public pension structures spread the risks arising from demographic and economic shocks across generations. We consider several actual and hypothetical sustainable PAYGO pension structures, including: (1) versions of the US Social Security system with annual adjustments of taxes or benefits to maintain fiscal balance; (2) Sweden's Notional Defined Contribution system and several variants developed to improve fiscal stability; and (3) the German system, which also includes annual adjustments to maintain fiscal balance. For each system, we present descriptive measures of uncertainty in representative outcomes for a typical generation and across generations. We then estimate expected utility for generations based on simplifying assumptions and incorporate these expected utility calculations in an overall social welfare measure. Using a horizontal equity index, we also compare the different systems' performance in terms of how neighboring generations are treated.

Suggested Citation

  • Auerbach, Alan J. & Lee, Ronald, 2011. "Welfare and generational equity in sustainable unfunded pension systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 16-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1:p:16-27 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.09.008
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    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Ronald Lee, 2009. "Notional Defined Contribution Pension Systems in a Stochastic Context: Design and Stability," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 43-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ronald D. Lee & Michael W. Anderson & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 2003. "Stochastic Forecasts of the Social Security Trust Fund," Working Papers wp043, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Michael Reiter & Alexander Ludwig, 2009. "Sharing Demographic Risk – Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," 2009 Meeting Papers 389, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    5. Ronald Lee & Timothy Miller & Michael Anderson, 2004. "Stochastic Infinite Horizon Forecasts for Social Security and Related Studies," NBER Working Papers 10917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2010. "Sharing Demographic Risk--Who Is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 83-118, November.
    7. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
    8. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2008. "Sharing Demographic Risk – Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," MEA discussion paper series 08166, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    9. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2002. "A New Measure of Horizontal Equity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1116-1125, September.
    10. Settergren, Ole & Mikula, Boguslaw D., 2005. "The rate of return of pay-as-you-go pension systems: a more exact consumption-loan model of interest," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 115-138, July.
    11. Settergren, Ole & Mikula, Boguslaw D., 2005. "The Rate of Return of Pay-As-You-Go Pension Systems: A More Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest," Discussion Paper 249, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
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    13. Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey B. Liebman & David A. Wise, 2009. "Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brow08-1, January.
    14. Lee, Ronald D., 1993. "Modeling and forecasting the time series of US fertility: Age distribution, range, and ultimate level," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 187-202, August.
    15. Axel Boersch-Supan & Christina B. Wilke, 2004. "The German Public Pension System: How it Was, How it Will Be," NBER Working Papers 10525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Florence Legros, 2003. "Notional Defined Contribution : a Comparison of the French and the German Point Systems," Working Papers 2003-14, CEPII research center.
    17. Valkonen, Tarmo, 2002. "Demographic Uncertainty and Taxes," Discussion Papers 816, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xavier Chojnicki & Riccardo Magnani, 2012. "Réforme des retraites en France : évaluation de la mise en place d'un système par comptes notionnels," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, pages 69-90.
    2. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2010. "Sharing Demographic Risk--Who Is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 83-118, November.
    3. repec:prs:ecoprv:ecop_0249-4744_2012_num_200_2_8107 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2008. "Sharing Demographic Risk – Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," MEA discussion paper series 08166, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    5. Palmer, Edward, 2011. "Generic NDC - Equilibrium, Valuation and Risk Sharing with and without NDC Bonds," Working Paper Series 2011:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    6. Blomquist, Sören, 2009. "Public Provision of Private Goods and Nondistortionary Marginal Tax Rates: Some Further Results," Working Paper Series 2009:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. Alan Auerbach & Lorenz Kueng & Ronald Lee, 2013. "Propagation and Smoothing of Shocks in Alternative Social Security Systems," NBER Working Papers 19137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nisticò, Sergio & Bevilacqua, Mirko, 2013. "Notional defined contribution (NDC) pension schemes and income patterns," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 7, pages 1-24.
    9. Elizabeth Horner, 2014. "Subjective Well-Being and Retirement: Analysis and Policy Recommendations," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 125-144, February.
    10. Alfonso R. Sánchez, 2014. "The automatic adjustment of pension expenditures in Spain:an evaluation of the 2013 pension reform," Working Papers 1420, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    11. Jan Bonenkamp & Lex Meijdam & Eduard Ponds & Ed Westerhout, 2017. "Ageing-driven pension reforms," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 953-976, July.
    12. Metzger, Christoph, 2016. "Intra-household allocation of non-mandatory retirement savings," FZG Discussion Papers 60, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    13. George Economides & Hyun Park & Apostolis Philippopoulos & Stelios Sakkas, 2015. "On the Composition of Public Spending and Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 5510, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Alexander Ludwig & Michael Reiter, 2008. "Sharing Demographic Risk – Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," MEA discussion paper series 08166, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    15. Akira Okamoto, 2013. "Simulating Public Pension Reforms in an Aging Japan: Welfare Analysis with LSRA Transfers," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 9(4), pages 597-632, September.
    16. Alonso-García, J. & Devolder, P., 2016. "Optimal mix between pay-as-you-go and funding for DC pension schemes in an overlapping generations model," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 224-236.
    17. Riccardo Magnani, 2016. "Is an Increase in the Minimum Retirement Age Always Desirable? The Case of Notional Defined Contribution Systems," Post-Print hal-01362459, HAL.
    18. Knell, Markus, 2013. "The Intergenerational Distribution of Demographic Fluctuations in Unfunded and Funded Pension Systems," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79830, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    19. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Andrew A. Samwick, 2015. "The Welfare Cost of Perceived Policy Uncertainty: Evidence from Social Security," NBER Working Papers 21818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_311 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pensions; PAYGO; Social security;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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