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Should the Social Security Trust Fund Hold Equities

  • Henning Bohn

    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

In a stochastic economy with overlapping generations, fiscal policy affects the allocation of aggregate risks. The paper shows how to compute the welfare effects of marginal policy changes that shift risk across cohorts, in general and for an application to social security equity investments. I estimate the relevant correlations between macroeconomic shocks and equity returns from 1874-1996 U.S. data, calibrate the model, and find positive welfare effects for equity investments. Since stock returns are positively correlated with social security's wage-indexed benefit obligations, equity investments would also help to stabilize the payroll tax rate. (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.1999.0062
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 2 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 666-697

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:3:p:666-697
Note: A technical appendix is available, see the handle RePEc:red:append:bohn99
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  1. Roger H. Gordon & Hal R. Varian, 1985. "Intergenerational Risk Sharing," NBER Working Papers 1730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira, 1999. "Consumption And Portfolio Decisions When Expected Returns Are Time Varying," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(2), pages 433-495, May.
  3. Enders, Walter & Lapan, Harvey E, 1982. "Social Security Taxation and Intergenerational Risk Sharing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(3), pages 647-58, October.
  4. Baxter, Marianne & Jermann, Urban J, 1997. "The International Diversification Puzzle Is Worse Than You Think," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 170-80, March.
  5. King, Robert G & Plosser, Charles I & Rebelo, Sergio T, 2002. "Production, Growth and Business Cycles: Technical Appendix," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 20(1-2), pages 87-116, October.
  6. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  7. Phillippe Weil, 1997. "The Equity Premium Puzzle and the Risk-Free Rate Puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1833, David K. Levine.
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