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Does information increase political support for pension reform?

Author

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  • Tito Boeri

    ()

  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

An opinion poll on a representative sample of Italian citizens suggests that it does. We focus on reforms that would lengthen retirement age and/or cut pension benefits. After controlling for individual features of the respondent, we find that individuals who are more informed about the costs and functioning of the Italian pension system are more willing to accept reforms. This result holds also using non-parametric methods, such as propensity-score matching. However, the data also suggest that information is endogenous, and jointly determined with policy opinions. We therefore estimate a causal effect of information, with joint maximum likelihood and instrumental variables. These different methods all confirm a positive and significant causal effect of better information on the willingness to accept reforms that reduce the generosity of the pension system. Finally we do not find that exposure to media coverage of pension issues significantly improves information, possibly because individuals read newspaper articles or watch TV programs on these issues just to confirm their priors.
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Suggested Citation

  • Tito Boeri & Guido Tabellini, 2012. "Does information increase political support for pension reform?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 327-362, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:150:y:2012:i:1:p:327-362
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-010-9706-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Author-Name: Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 327-397.
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    3. Tim Krieger, 2008. "Public pensions and return migration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 163-178, March.
    4. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, April.
    5. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D., 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, April.
    6. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2009. "Transparency and Economic Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1023-1048.
    7. Martinelli, Cesar, 2006. "Would rational voters acquire costly information?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 225-251, July.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:03:p:545-558_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Valentino Larcinese, 2007. "Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 387-411, June.
    10. Alan S. Gerber & Dean Karlan & Daniel Bergan, 2009. "Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, April.
    11. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula & Renata Bottazzi, 2003. "Retirement Expectations and Pension Reforms," CSEF Working Papers 92, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    12. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-388, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Markus Leibrecht & Joelle H. Fiong, 2017. "Economic Crises and Globalisation as Drivers of Pension Privatisation: an Empirical Analysis," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2017-05, Henley Business School, Reading University.
    2. Angel Melguizo & Manuel Balmaseda & David Taguas, 2005. "Las reformas necesarias en el sistema de pensiones contributivas en Espana," Working Papers 0505, BBVA Bank, Economic Research Department.
    3. repec:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0447-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11272 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Najat El Mekkaoui de Freitas & Bérangère Legendre, 2014. "Constitution d’un revenu complémentaire de retraite : quels sont les facteurs déterminants?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 472(1), pages 153-167.
    6. Hayo, Bernd & Ono, Hiroyuki, 2010. "Comparing public attitudes toward providing for the livelihood of the elderly in two aging societies: Germany and Japan," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 72-80, January.
    7. Elsa Fornero, 2015. "Economic-financial Literacy and (Sustainable) Pension Reforms: Why the Former is a Key Ingredient for the Latter," Bankers, Markets & Investors, ESKA Publishing, issue 134, pages 6-16, January-F.
    8. Flavia Coda Moscarola & Elsa Fornero & Steinar Strøm, 2016. "Absenteeism, childcare and the effectiveness of pension reforms," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-18, December.
    9. Arji Lans Bovenberg, 2007. "Grey new world: Europe on the road to gerontocracy, Introduction by Arji Lans Bovenberg," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 8(3), pages 17-25, October.
    10. Stiftung Familienunternehmen (ed.), 2012. "Der Weg zu einer "Agenda 2030": Reformen zwischen objektiver Notwendigkeit und individueller Verweigerung," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110562.
    11. Beatrice Scheubel & Daniel Schunk & Joachim Winter, 2009. "Don't Raise the Retirement Age! An Experiment on Opposition to Pension Reforms and East-West Differences in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 2752, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Jakob Haan & Richard Jong-A-Pin & Jochen Mierau, 2013. "Do budgetary institutions mitigate the common pool problem? New empirical evidence for the EU," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(3), pages 423-441, September.
    13. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2008:i:2:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Alessandro Bucciol & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Lying in Politics: Evidence from the US," Working Papers 22/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pension reform; Information; Policy opinions; H55; J26; D8;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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