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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. Enders, Walter & Lapan, Harvey E., 1982. "Social Security Taxation and Inter-Generational Risk Sharing," Staff General Research Papers 10822, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Baxter, M. & Jermann, U.J., 1993. "The International Diversification Puzzle is Worse than you Think," RCER Working Papers 350, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
  4. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira, 1996. "Consumption and Portfolio Decisions When Expected Returns are Time Varying," NBER Working Papers 5857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  6. Roger H. Gordon & Hal R. Varian, 1985. "Intergenerational Risk Sharing," NBER Working Papers 1730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
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