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Old, Sick, Alone, and Poor: A Welfare Analysis of Old-Age Social Insurance Programmes

Author

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  • R. Anton Braun
  • Karen A. Kopecky
  • Tatyana Koreshkova

Abstract

All individuals face some risk of ending up old, sick, alone, and poor. Is there a role for social insurance for these risks and, if so, what is a good programme? A large literature has analysed the costs and benefits of pay-as-you-go public pensions and found that the costs exceed the benefits. This article, instead, considers means-tested social insurance (MTSI) programmes for retirees such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. We find that the welfare gains from these programmes are large. Moreover, the current scale of MTSI in the U.S. is too small in the following sense. If we condition on the current Social Security programme, increasing the scale of MTSI by 1/3 benefits both the poor and the affluent when a payroll tax is used to fund the increase.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Anton Braun & Karen A. Kopecky & Tatyana Koreshkova, 2017. "Old, Sick, Alone, and Poor: A Welfare Analysis of Old-Age Social Insurance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(2), pages 580-612.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:84:y:2017:i:2:p:580-612.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/restud/rdw016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tatyana Koreshkova & Karen A. Kopecky, 2009. "The Impact of Medical and Nursing Home Expenses and Social Insurance Policies on Savings and Inequality," 2009 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guner, Nezih & Kulikova, Yuliya & Llull, Joan, 2018. "Marriage and health: Selection, protection, and assortative mating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 138-166.
    2. French, Eric & Jones, John Bailey & Kelly, Elaine & McCauley, Jeremy, 2018. "End-of-Life Medical Expenses," Working Paper 18-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    3. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Medicaid Insurance in Old Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3480-3520, November.
    4. George Kudrna & Chung Tran & Alan Woodland, 2018. "Sustainable and Equitable Pensions with Means Testing in Aging Economies," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2018-666, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    5. Peterman, William B. & Sommer, Kamila, 2014. "How Well Did Social Security Mitigate the Effects of the Great Recession?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    6. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:162-190 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Jones, John Bailey & Li, Yue, 2018. "The effects of collecting income taxes on Social Security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 128-145.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Means-tested social insurance; Medicaid; Welfare; Elderly; Medical expenses;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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