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Steady-state welfare effects of social security in a large open economy


  • Friedrich Breyer
  • David Wildasin


The previous welfare-economics literature on intergenerational transfers through unfunded public pension schemes studies either “small open” economies, which can borrow or lend abroad without restriction at constant interest rates, or “closed” economies, in which domestic capital accumulation must be equal to domestic savings. Here we analyze the more realistic “intermediate” case of an economy which is both open and large enough to have an impact on world interest rates. It turns out that even those efficiency results that hold for both “polar” cases do not carry over to large open economies: If a country is a net lender, it can successfully redistribute income away from the non-residents by increasing the public pension program above the “golden-rule” level at which interest and growth rate coincide. Thus one must be careful in interpreting the previous results on the welfare effects of social security. Copyright Springer-Verlag 1993
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Suggested Citation

  • Friedrich Breyer & David Wildasin, 1993. "Steady-state welfare effects of social security in a large open economy," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 43-49, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:7:y:1993:i:1:p:43-49
    DOI: 10.1007/BF03052290

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
    2. 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.
    3. Persson, Torsten, 1985. "Deficits and intergenerational welfare in open economies," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 67-84, August.
    4. 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.
    5. Frenkel, Jacob A & Razin, Assaf, 1986. "Fiscal Policies in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages 564-594, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Arrau, Patricio & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 1995. "Pensions systems and reform : country experiences and research issues," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1470, The World Bank.
    2. Tim Krieger, 2001. "Intergenerational Redistribution and Labor Mobility: A Survey," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(3), pages 339-339, July.
    3. Henrik Petersen, Jorn, 1998. "Recent research on public pension systems. A review," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 91-108, March.
    4. Beltrametti, Luca & Bonatti, Luigi, 2004. "Does international coordination of pension policies boost capital accumulation?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 113-129, January.

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