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Privatizing Social Security: A Critical Assessment

Author

Listed:
  • Pascal Belan

    (CREST, Laboratoire de Macroeconomie)

  • Pierre Pestieau

    (CORE, CREPP & DELTA)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical evaluation of theoretical models showing that shifting from pay-as-you-go to fully funded social security schemes can be made Pareto-improving. Further, it argues that what often makes a reform towards funded schemes attractive is a number of additional features that could also have been introduced in the unfunded social security system.The paper is organized in three main sections. The first one presents a taxonomy of social security systems; this allows us to show that in privatization programmes the issue is not just moving from unfunded to funded mechanisms but also, and above all, to individualize the system in such a way that there is no more redistribution. The second shows that funded and pay-as-you-go schemes are equivalent as long as the payroll taxes paid during the period of inception of the pay-as-you-go scheme are duly invested. Finally, the third section presents two models of Pareto-improving social security reforms and discusses the assumptions on which they rely. The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance (1999) 24, 114–130. doi:10.1111/1468-0440.00008

Suggested Citation

  • Pascal Belan & Pierre Pestieau, 1999. "Privatizing Social Security: A Critical Assessment," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 24(1), pages 114-130, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:24:y:1999:i:1:p:114-130
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    Cited by:

    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Reforming our pension system: Is it a demographic, financial or political problem?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 974-983, May.
    2. Antoine D'Autume, 2003. "L'impact du vieillissement démographique sur les mécanismes macroéconomiques," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00452552, HAL.
    3. Barr, Nicholas, 2002. "Reforming pensions : myths, truths, and policy choices," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 286, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Alain Jousten & Pierre Pestieau, 2002. "Labor Mobility, Redistribution, and Pension Reform in Europe," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Pension Reform in Europe, pages 85-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Christophe Hachon, 2008. "Redistribution, Pension Systems and Capital Accumulation," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 32(3), pages 339-368.
    6. Helmut Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 1999. "Coping with the pension crisis: is it a demographic, financial or political problem?," CREPP Working Papers 9907, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
    7. A. Lans Bovenberg & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2004. "Improving the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off: Mandatory Savings Accounts for Social Insurance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(4), pages 507-529, August.
    8. Marcin Bielecki & Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz & Marcin Waniek, 2015. "In the search for the optimal path to establish a funded pension system," Working Papers 2015-22, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    9. Oliwia Komada & Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2017. "Welfare effects of fiscal policy in reforming the pension system," GRAPE Working Papers 11, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    10. Marko Köthenbürger & Panu Poutvaara, 2002. "Social Security Reform and Intergenerational Trade: Is there Scope for a Pareto-Improvement?," CESifo Working Paper Series 795, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Nicholas Barr & Peter Diamond, 2006. "The Economics of Pensions," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 15-39, Spring.
    12. Yvonne Adema & Lex Meijdam & Harrie Verbon, 2009. "The international spillover effects of pension reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(5), pages 670-696, October.
    13. Pestieau, Pierre & Possen, Uri M., 2000. "Investing Social Security in the Equity Market. Does It Make a Difference?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(1), pages 41-58, March.
    14. Berthold U. Wigger, 1999. "Public Pensions and Growth," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 56(2), pages 241-241, June.
    15. Bertrand Wigniolle & Philippe Michel & Pascal Belan, 2002. "Pension funds and capital accumulation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(1), pages 1-8.
    16. Mauri Kotamäki, 2013. "The Pension Scheme Need Not Be Pay-As-You-Go: An Overlapping Generations Approach," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 56-71, Autumn.
    17. Pascal Belan & Philippe Michel & Bertrand Wigniolle, 2007. "Capital Accumulation, Welfare, and the Emergence of Pension-Fund Activism," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 63(1), pages 54-82, March.
    18. Weizsäcker, Robert K. von & Wigger, Berthold U., 2001. "Rentenfinanzierung und intergenerationelle Gerechtigkeit : Eine wachstumstheoretische Perspektive," Discussion Papers 606, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
    19. PESTIEAU, Pierre & POSSEN, Uri, 2000. "Macroeconomic implications of switching the social security trust fund towards a greater investment in equities," CORE Discussion Papers 2000035, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    20. Ermolieva, Tatiana, 2005. "Simulation-based optimization of social security systems under uncertainty," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 166(3), pages 782-793, November.
    21. Pestieau, Pierre & Possen, Uri M., 2000. "Investing Social Security in the Equity Market. Does it Make a Difference?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 1), pages 41-58, March.
    22. Hisahiro Naito, 2015. "Immigration as a Policy Tool for the Double Burden Problem of Prefunding Pay-as-you-go Social Security System," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2015-002, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
    23. Antoine D'Autume, 2003. "Ageing and retirement age. What can we learn from the Overlapping Generations Model ?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00452561, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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