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Is Altruism Important for Understanding the Long-Run Effects of Social Security?

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  • Luisa Fuster

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra and University of Western Ontario)

Abstract

This paper quantifies the effects of social security on capital accumulation and wealth distribution in a life-cycle framework with altruistic individuals. The main findings of this paper are that the current U.S. social security system has a significant impact on capital accumulation and wealth distribution. I find that social security crowds out 8% of the capital stock of an economy without social security. This effect is driven by the distortions of labor supply due to the taxation of labor income rather than by the intergenerational redistribution of income imposed by the social security system. In contrast to previous analysis of social security, I found that social security does not affect the savings rate of the economy. Another interesting finding is that even though the current U.S. social security system is progressive in its benefits, it may lead to a more dispersed distribution of wealth. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Luisa Fuster, 1999. "Is Altruism Important for Understanding the Long-Run Effects of Social Security?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 616-637, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:3:p:616-637 DOI: 10.1006/redy.1999.0063
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social security; altruism; capital accumulation; labor market distortions; wealth distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • 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
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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