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The US Social Security System: What Does Political Sustainability Imply?

Author

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  • Vincenzo Galasso

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Abstract

This paper examines how political constraints can shape the social security system under different demographics. A steady state mapping between relevant economic and demographic variables and the social security tax rate resulting from a majority voting is provided. I calibrate an OLG model to the US economy. Calculations using Census population and survival probabilities projections, and 1961-96 labor productivity growth deliver a social security tax rate of 13.3% (currently 11.2%), and a 54% replacement ratio (51.7%). This result reflects the median voter's aging, from 44 to 46 years, which dominates the decrease in the dependency ratio, from 5.45 to 4.72. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Galasso, 1999. "The US Social Security System: What Does Political Sustainability Imply?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 698-730, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:2:y:1999:i:3:p:698-730
    DOI: 10.1006/redy.1998.0049
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 55-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Tabellini, Guido, 2000. " A Positive Theory of Social Security," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 523-545, June.
    3. Thomas F. Cooley & Jorge Soares, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Social Security Based on Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 135-160, February.
    4. Esteban Joan Maria & Sakovics Jozsef, 1993. "Intertemporal Transfer Institutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 189-205, December.
    5. Galasso, Vincenzo, 2000. "The US Social Security: A Financial Appraisal For The Median Voter," CEPR Discussion Papers 2456, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. BOLDRIN, Michele & RUSTICHINI, Aldo, 1994. "Equilibria with Social Security," CORE Discussion Papers 1994060, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Elizabeth Caucutt & Thomas Cooley & Nezih Guner, 2013. "The farm, the city, and the emergence of social security," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 1-32, March.
    2. Conde-Ruiz, J. Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2004. "The macroeconomics of early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1849-1869, August.
    3. Conde-Ruiz, Jose Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2005. "Positive arithmetic of the welfare state," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 933-955, June.
    4. Mateos-Planas, Xavier, 2008. "A quantitative theory of social security without commitment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 652-671, April.
    5. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2004. "Lessons for an ageing society: the political sustainability of social security systems," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 63-115, April.
    6. Marcello D’Amato & Vincenzo Galasso, 2002. "Assessing the Political Sustainability of Parametric Social Security Reforms: the Case of Italy," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 61(2), pages 171-213, December.
    7. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 153-158, March.
    8. Gonzalez-Eiras, Marti­n & Niepelt, Dirk, 2008. "The future of social security," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 197-218, March.
    9. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2003. "Early Retirement," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, January.
    10. Azariadis, Costas & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2002. "Fiscal Constitutions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 255-281, April.
    11. Lorenzo Forni, 2005. "Social Security as Markov Equilibrium in OLG Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(1), pages 178-194, January.
    12. Galasso, Vincenzo & Profeta, Paola, 2002. "The political economy of social security: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, March.
    13. Georg Hirte, 2003. "The Political Feasibility of Privatizing Old-Age Insurance," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(4), pages 507-525, September.
    14. Marcello D'Amato & Vincenzo Galasso, 2002. "E' la Riforma Dini Politicamente Sostenibile?," CELPE Discussion Papers 64, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    15. Uebelmesser Silke, 2004. "Political Feasibility of Pension Reforms," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, September.
    16. Hans Fehr, 2009. "Computable Stochastic Equilibrium Models and Their Use in Pension- and Ageing Research," De Economist, Springer, vol. 157(4), pages 359-416, December.
    17. Hans-Werner Sinn & Silke Übelmesser, 2000. "Wann kippt Deutschland um?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 53(28-29), pages 20-25, November.
    18. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Paola Profeta, 2007. "The Redistributive Design of Social Security Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 686-712, April.
    19. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_179 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Hans-Werner Sinn & Silke Uebelmesser, 2001. "When Will the Germans Get Trapped in their Pension System?," NBER Working Papers 8503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Michele Boldrin & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Political Equilibria with Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 41-78, January.
    22. Paola Profeta, 2002. "Aging and Retirement: Evidence Across Countries," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(6), pages 651-672, November.
    23. D'Amato, Marcello & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2002. "Aggregate Risk, Political Constraints and Social Security Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3330, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unfunded social security system; political equilibria; labor productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • E17 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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