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Social security reform: an overview


  • Robert K. Triest


Recent decades have seen a trend toward longer life expectancy and reduced birth rates across the globe. This is good news -- the pressures created by rapid population growth are being relaxed, and people are more likely to live to old age -- but it creates problems for programs such as Social Security, which are designed to provide for the consumption needs of the elderly. In the United States, the retirement of the baby boom generation will result in a decrease in the number of workers per Social Security beneficiary from 3.3 now to 2.2 in the year 2030. The decrease in the ratio of workers to beneficiaries will necessitate changes in our Social Security program. The fiscal problems faced by Social Security are just one component of the more general problem faced by society: How do we provide for the consumption needs of an increasingly aged population?> Policy decisions made in the next few years will have a large impact on the economic well-being of both future retirees and workers. Social Security reform may cause changes in national saving, labor markets, and financial markets that affect all members of society. Because of the potential importance of these changes to the economy and to future living standards, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston devoted its forty-first economic conference, convened in June 1997, to Social Security Reform: Links to Saving, Investment, and Growth. This article reviews the presentations at the conference and the themes that developed from the discussions.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert K. Triest, 1997. "Social security reform: an overview," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Nov, pages 3-16.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1997:i:nov:p:3-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-620, September.
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    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    5. Yolanda K. Kodrzycki, 1995. "The costs of defense-related layoffs in New England," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 3-23.
    6. John H. Bishop, 1996. "Is the market for college graduates headed for a bust? Demand and supply responses to rising college wage premiums," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 115-138.
    7. Paul T. Decker & Walter Corson, 1995. "International Trade and Worker Displacement: Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(4), pages 758-774, July.
    8. Robert J. LaLonde, 1995. "The Promise of Public Sector-Sponsored Training Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 149-168, Spring.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lopez Murphy, Pablo & Musalem, Alberto R., 2004. "Pension funds and national saving," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3410, The World Bank.
    2. Richard Disney & Carl Emmerson & Sarah Smith, 2004. "Pension Reform and Economic Performance in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 233-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard Disney, 2005. "Household Saving Rates and the Design of Social Security Programmes: Evidence from a Country Panel," CESifo Working Paper Series 1541, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Eisen, Roland, 2000. "(Partial) privatization social security: The Chilean model - a lesson to follow?," CFS Working Paper Series 2000/13, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

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