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Social Security is NOT a Substitute for Annuity Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Frank Caliendo

    (Utah State University)

  • Nick Guo

    (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater)

  • Roozbeh Hosseini

    (Arizona State University)

Abstract

Common wisdom suggests that a fully-funded actuarially fair social security system should increase welfare when households face longevity risk and annuity markets are missing. This wisdom is based on the observation that social security pays benefits as life annuities and therefore appears to complete the market. However, we argue that common wisdom is based on a benefit-only analysis that ignores a fundamental cost---social security crowds out the bequests that households leave (and receive) in general equilibrium. We conduct a general equilibrium cost-benefit analysis of the longevity insurance role of social security, and we show that under certain conditions this decline in bequest income offsets any possible gains from access to a public annuity pool. We abstract from distortions to national income and factor prices to show that the equilibrium bequest channel is all that is needed to reach this conclusion. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Caliendo & Nick Guo & Roozbeh Hosseini, 2014. "Social Security is NOT a Substitute for Annuity Markets," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 739-755, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:13-126
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2014.01.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Bagchi, Shantanu, 2016. "Is The Social Security Crisis Really As Bad As We Think?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(03), pages 737-776, April.
    3. Bagchi, Shantanu, 2015. "Labor supply and the optimality of Social Security," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 167-185.
    4. Laps, Jochen, 2016. "Fully Funded Social Security Pensions, Lifetime Risk and Income," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145587, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Shantanu Bagchi, 2016. "Differential Mortality and the Progressivity of Social Security," Working Papers 2016-03, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2016.
    6. Hosseini, Roozbeh & Shourideh, Ali, 2016. "Retirement Financing: An Optimal Reform Approach," MPRA Paper 71613, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Jan 2016.
    7. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, 2015. "Social security in an analytically tractable overlapping generations model with aggregate and idiosyncratic risks," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(4), pages 579-603, August.
    8. repec:spr:inrvec:v:65:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s12232-017-0284-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Daniel Harenberg & Ludwig, Alexander, 2015. "Idiosyncratic Risk, Aggregate Risk, and the Welfare Effects of Social Security," MEA discussion paper series 201403, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    10. Zhao, Kai, 2017. "Social insurance, private health insurance and individual welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 102-117.
    11. Frank N. Caliendo & Aspen Gorry & Sita Slavov, 2017. "Survival Ambiguity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 23648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Laps, Jochen, 2015. "Fully Funded Social Security Pensions, Lifetime Risk and Income," Working Papers 0603, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    13. Harenberg, Daniel & Ludwig, Alexander, 2018. "Idiosyncratic risk, aggregate risk, and the welfare effects of social security," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-016, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Annuities; Uninsurable longevity risk; Social security; General equilibrium; Bequest income;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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