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Le Débat sur les Retraites : Capitalisation contre Répartition

  • Olivier Davanne
  • Thierry Pujol
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    [fre] Confrontée à un vieillissement marqué de sa population, la France doit continuer à ajuster son système de retraite. Compte-tenu de l'importance des enjeux, on ne peut qu'être surpris de l'absence de véritable débat public sur les orientations envisageables, ainsi que par une certaine méconnaissance des expériences étrangères. Cet article évalue les forces et faiblesses des solutions généralement proposées. Maintenir la répartition sur ces bases actuelles, ce serait condamner les générations futures à un système qui taxe fortement les jeunes actifs. Ceci rendrait notamment nécessaire un quasi doublement des cotisations, créant ainsi, au siècle prochain, le risque d'un conflit de générations qui verrait les jeunes refuser de financer les retraites des vieux. Face à ces risques, la capitalisation dans sa version pure est toutefois loin d'être une panacée. Peu efficace en matière de mutualisation des risques, elle laisse en particulier les épargnants exposés aux soubresauts des marchés financiers. La capitalisation pourrait-elle survivre à un krach boursier ou faudrait-il que la puissance publique intervienne pour compléter les revenus des retraités ? Pour pallier les défauts de ces deux systèmes, les auteurs insistent sur les avantages d'un système mixte, qui tente de combiner les avantages respectifs de la capitalisation et de la répartition. En premier lieu, les régimes de retraite par répartition devraient constituer des réserves de façon durable pour couvrir partiellement les engagements pris. Commencée suffisamment tôt, une telle politique permettrait à l'horizon de 2040 de réaliser des placements dans des actifs financiers à haut rendement pour des montants cumulés de l'ordre d'une fois le P.I.B. Les produits financiers de ces réserves contribueraient au financement des pensions au côté des cotisations versées par les actifs. Cela ne permettrait cependant pas d'éviter de nouvelles adaptations des régimes par répartition, notamment un allongement de la durée requise de cotisation pour bénéficier d'une retraite à taux plein. De telles réformes permettraient, sous l'égide de la puissance publique, de solvabiliser les régimes de retraite actuels tout en préservant un haut degré de mutualisation des risques, notamment financiers, entre générations. [eng] Faced with an ageing population, France will need to reform once again its pension system. Given what is at stake, an observer cannot help but be surprised by the lack of public debate on desirable policies and by a certain misunderstanding of foreign experiences concerning pension reforms This article tries to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of the pension reforms which are currently under consideration. Keeping the current pay-as-you-go pension system unchanged would be tantamount to imposing predatory taxes on workers in the future. Indeed, to achieve financial balance, pension schemes would almost have to double social security contributions. Such a doubling would create the risk of a conflict between generations where « young » workers would simply refuse to finance « elderly » ones. Alternatively, fully-funded schemes do not constitute a panacea. In particular, they do not provide an adequate tool for diversifying risks, thereby leaving households exposed to fluctuations in the financial markets. Could fully-funded pension schemes survive a market crash or would the government need to intervene to compensate retirees ? To compensate for the drawbacks of the two systems, the authors stress the advantages offered by a blended system, which combines fully-funded and pay-as-you-go features. Firstly, pay-as-you-go pension schemes need to build reserves for a long while in order to offset their existing liabilities. If initiated early enough, such a policy would allow to accumulate reserves to the order of 100 percent of GDP by 2040, invested in high-return assets. The return on these assets would, in addition to contributions levied on workers, contribute to the financing of pensions. The build-up of these reserves would not, however, suffice to rehabilitate existing pay-as-you-go schemes. Additional measures would still be unavoidable, including an increase in the duration of the contributing period required for full entitlement. Overall, under the government's aegis, reforms of this sort would allow for the restoration of the pension schemes solvability while preserving a high level of financial risk-sharing between generations.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3406/rfeco.1997.1421
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    Article provided by Programme National Persée in its journal Revue française d'économie.

    Volume (Year): 12 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 57-116

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    Handle: RePEc:prs:rfreco:rfeco_0769-0479_1997_num_12_1_1421
    Note: DOI:10.3406/rfeco.1997.1421
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/revue/rfeco

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