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On myopia as rationale for social security

  • Torben Andersen


  • Joydeep Bhattacharya


It has been argued that "paternalistically motivated forced savings constitutes an important, and to some the most important, rationale for social security retirement systems." This paper revisits the role played by myopia in generating a theoretical rationale for pay-as-you-go social security in dynamically efficient economies. If the competing asset is linear storage and myopic agents are allowed to borrow against future pension benefits, there is no welfare-rationale for pay-as-you-go pensions. In that case, sufficently-strong myopia may justify such pensions only if agents cannot borrow against their future pension, and are at a zero-saving corner. With enough myopia, co-existence of positive optimal pensions and positive private saving is possible if the return to saving declines with saving, as in a model with a neoclassical technology.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 47 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 135-158

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Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:47:y:2011:i:1:p:135-158
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  1. CREMER, Helmuth & DE DONDER, Philippe & MALDONADO, Dario & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2008. "Forced saving, redistribution and nonlinear social security schemes," CORE Discussion Papers 2008020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Jose Apesteguia & Miguel Ballester, 2009. "A theory of reference-dependent behavior," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 427-455, September.
  3. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1988. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfection: An International Comparison," CEPR Discussion Papers 244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Myopia and the Effects of Social Security and Capital Taxation on Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 12452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Justifying Public Provision of Social Security," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(4), pages 674-696.
  7. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2007. "Welfare without Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 471-476, May.
  9. Andersen, Torben M. & Bhattacharya, Joydeep, 2013. "Unfunded Pensions And Endogenous Labor Supply," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(05), pages 971-997, July.
  10. Fernando Perera-Tallo & Hideo Konishi, 1997. "Existence of steady - state equium in an overlapping-generations model with production (*)," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 529-537.
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