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On the Optimal Timing of Implicit Social Security Taxes Over the Life Cycle

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  • Robert Fenge
  • Silke Uebelmesser
  • Martin Werding

Abstract

Are there still opportunities for welfare-improving reforms in unfunded pension systems? To answer this question, we analyze the intertemporal structure of implicit taxes in pay-as-you-go pension schemes. We demonstrate that these tax rates are declining over the life cycle. This timing is optimal if periodic wage elasticities of labor supply are inversely related to the tax structure. Using German micro data for men and married women, we estimate periodic wage elasticities of labor supply. We observe that an efficient taxation would require implementing a steeper tax profile for male workers and a U-shaped (or mildly N-shaped) tax profile for female workers in addition to a general reduction of the level of implicit tax rates for the latter.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Fenge & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2006. "On the Optimal Timing of Implicit Social Security Taxes Over the Life Cycle," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(1), pages 68-107, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200603)62:1_68:ototoi_2.0.tx_2-e
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin Werding, 2005. "Survivor Benefits and the Gender Tax Gap in Public Pension Schemes: Observations from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1596, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Marcel Thum & Jakob von Weisäcker, 2000. "Implizite Einkommensteuer als Messlatte für die aktuellen Rentenreformvorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(4), pages 453-468, November.
    3. Hans-Werner Sinn & Marcel Thum, 1999. "Gesetzliche Rentenversicherung: Prognosen im Vergleich," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(1), pages 104-140, March.
    4. Brunner, Johann K., 1996. "Transition from a pay-as-you-go to a fully funded pension system: The case of differing individuals and intragenerational fairness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 131-146, April.
    5. Christian Brinch & Erik Hernæs & Steinar Strøm, 2001. "Labour Supply Effects of an Early Retirement Programme," CESifo Working Paper Series 463, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
    7. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
    8. Mathias Kifmann, 2008. "Age-Dependent Taxation and the Optimal Retirement Benefit Formula," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 41-64, February.
    9. Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2004. "Ageing and the tax implied in public pension schemes: simulations for selected OECD countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 159-200, June.
    10. Hans-Werner Sinn & Martin Werding, 2000. "Rentenniveausenkung und Teilkapitaldeckung - ifo Empfehlungen zur Konsolidierung des Umlageverfahrens," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 53(18), pages 12-25, June.
    11. Brunner, Johann K., 1993. "Redistribution and the efficiency of the pay-as-you-go pension system," Discussion Papers, Series I 265, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
    12. Homburg, Stefan & Richter, Wolfram, 1990. "Eine effizienzorientierte Reform der GRV," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 183-191..
    13. Bernhard Boockmann & Viktor Steiner, 2006. "Cohort effects and the returns to education in West Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(10), pages 1135-1152.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gasche, Martin & Rausch, Johannes, 2012. "Auswirkungen einer Versicherungspflicht der Selbständigen in der Gesetzlichen Rentenversicherung," MEA discussion paper series 201212, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    2. Martin Werding & Stuart R. McLennan, 2015. "International Portability of Health-Cost Cover: Mobility, Insurance, and Redistribution," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(2), pages 484-519.
    3. repec:mea:meawpa:12263 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2002. "Départ à la retraite d'un point de vue de la taxation optimale," CREPP Working Papers 0212, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
    5. Martin Werding & Sonja Munz & Vera Gács, 2008. "Fertility and prosperity : links between demography and economic growth," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 42.
    6. Martin Werding, 2005. "Survivor Benefits and the Gender Tax Gap in Public Pension Schemes: Observations from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1596, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Werding Martin, 2008. "Survivor Benefits and the Gender-Related Tax Differential in Public Pension Schemes: Observations from Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(1), pages 110-134, February.
    8. Christian Dudel & Notburga Ott & Martin Werding, 2013. "Maintaining One's Living Standard at Old Age - What Does That Mean?: Evidence Using Panel Data from Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 563, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    9. Kallweit, Manuel & Fehr, Hans & Kindermann, Fabian, 2011. "Should pensions be progressive? Yes, at least in Germany!," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48708, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Fehr, Hans & Kallweit, Manuel & Kindermann, Fabian, 2017. "Families and social security," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 30-56.
    11. Hans Fehr & Fabian Kindermann, 2010. "Pension Funding and Individual Accounts in Economies with Life-cyclers and Myopes," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 56(3), pages 404-443, September.
    12. Werding, Martin & McLennan, Stuart, 2011. "International portability of health-cost coverage : concepts and experience," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 63929, The World Bank.
    13. Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Flexible Retirement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 573-593, July.
    14. Robert Fenge & Jakob von Weizsäcker, 2008. "Public pensions and intra-EU mobility: an unfinished agenda," Working Papers 46, Bruegel.
    15. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_713 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Friedrich Breyer & Stefan Hupfeld, 2009. "Fairness of Public Pensions and Old-Age Poverty," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(3), pages 358-380, September.
    17. repec:mea:meawpa:12252 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2008. "Social Security with Rational and Hyperbolic Consumers," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 884-903, October.
    19. Kallweit Manuel & Kohlmeier Anabell, 2014. "Zusatzbeiträge in der Gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung / Income-independent Surcharges in German Statutory Health Insurance: Weiterentwicklungsoptionen und ihre finanziellen sowie allokativen Effekte ," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(4), pages 490-517, August.
    20. Gasche, Martin, 2012. "Alte und neue Wege zur Berechnung der Rentenabschläge," MEA discussion paper series 201201, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    21. Martin Werding, 2007. "Versicherungsmathematisch korrekte Rentenabschläge für die gesetzliche Rentenversicherung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 60(16), pages 19-32, August.
    22. Fehr, Hans & Jokisch, Sabine & Kallweit, Manuel & Kindermann, Fabian & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2013. "Generational Policy and Aging in Closed and Open Dynamic General Equilibrium Models," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.
    23. Martin Werding, 2008. "Ageing and Productivity Growth: Are there Macro-level Cohort Effects of Human Capital?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2207, CESifo Group Munich.
    24. Mathias Kifmann, 2008. "Age-Dependent Taxation and the Optimal Retirement Benefit Formula," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9, pages 41-64, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public pensions; labor supply; optimal taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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