IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/jecgro/v1y1996i2p2a77-304.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Positive Theory of Social Security

Author

Listed:
  • Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X

Abstract

Social Security programmes around the world link public pensions to retirement: people do not lose their pensions if they make a million dollars a year in the stock market, but they do confront marginal tax rates of up to 100% if they choose to work. After arguing that most existing theories cannot explain this fact, I construct a positive theory which is consistent with it. The main idea is that pensions are a means to induce retirement, that is, to buy the elderly out of the labour force. The reason is that aggregate output is higher if the elderly do not work. This is modelled through positive externalities in the average stock of human capital: because skills depreciate with age, the elderly have lower than average skills and, as a result, they have a negative effect on the productivity of the young. When the difference between the skill level of the young and that of the old is large enough, aggregate ouput in an economy where the elderly do not work is higher. Retirement is desirable in this case, and social security transfers are the means by which such retirement is induced. The theory developed in this paper is also shown to be consistent with a number of other regularities.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X, 1996. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 277-304, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:1:y:1996:i:2:p:2a77-304
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    2. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    4. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1993. "Transitional Dynamics in Two-Sector Models of Endogenous Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 739-773.
    5. Eric J. Bartelsman & Ricardo J. Caballero & Richard K. Lyons, 1991. "Short and Long Run Externalities," NBER Working Papers 3810, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Michael J. Boskin & John B. Shoven, 1987. "Concepts and Measures of Earnings Replacement During Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 113-146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven, 1983. "Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi83-1.
    8. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & David A. Wise, 1987. "The Incentive Effects of Private Pension Plans," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 283-340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1992. "Transfers," NBER Working Papers 4186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Grossmann, Volker, 2008. "Risky human capital investment, income distribution, and macroeconomic dynamics," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 19-42, March.
    3. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1997. "The role of rents to human capital in economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 229-249, August.
    4. Vito Tanzi & Howell H. Zee, 1997. "Fiscal Policy and Long-Run Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(2), pages 179-209, June.
    5. Palacios, Robert, 2006. "Civil-service pension schemes around the world," MPRA Paper 14796, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Francesco Lancia & Alessia Russo, 2010. "A Dynamic Politico-Economic Model of Intergenerational Contracts," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 050, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    7. Francisco Alvarez‐Cuadrado & Mayssun El‐Attar Vilalta, 2018. "Income Inequality and Saving," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(6), pages 1029-1061, December.
    8. Andrew Leigh & Alberto Posso, 2009. "Top Incomes And National Savings," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(1), pages 57-74, March.
    9. Manuel Oechslin, 2009. "Creditor protection and the dynamics of the distribution in oligarchic societies," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 313-344, December.
    10. Lutz Hendricks, 2001. "Growth, Death, and Taxes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(1), pages 26-57, January.
    11. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martín, 2003. "Social security, retirement, and the single-mindedness of the electorate," Economics Working Papers 686, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    12. Piotr Ciżkowicz & Andrzej Rzońca, 2011. "Mechanizmy oddziaływania deficytu fiskalnego na wzrost gospodarki," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 10, pages 1-20.
    13. Debasis Bandyopadhyay & Parantap Basu, 2005. "What drives the cross‐country growth and inequality correlation?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(4), pages 1272-1297, November.
    14. Dilip Mookherjee & Debraj Ray, 2002. "Contractual Structure and Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 818-849, September.
    15. R. Glenn Hubbard, 1984. "'Precautionary' Saving Revisited: Social Security, Individual Welfare, and the Capital Stock," NBER Working Papers 1430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1988. "An Analysis Of Pension Benefit Formulas, Pension Wealth And Incentives From Pensions," NBER Working Papers 2535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Jones, Larry E. & Manuelli, Rodolfo E., 1997. "The sources of growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 75-114, January.
    18. John P. Rust, 1989. "A Dynamic Programming Model of Retirement Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 359-404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1989. "Evaluating Pension Policies in a Model with Endogeous Contributions," NBER Working Papers 3085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Ramos Parreno, Jose Maria & Sanchez-Losada, Fernando, 2002. "The role of unions in an endogenous growth model with human capital," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-192, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:kap:jecgro:v:1:y:1996:i:2:p:2a77-304. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    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.