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Uncertain policy for an uncertain world: The case of social security

  • John Sabelhaus

    (No affiliation)

  • Julie Topoleski

    (No affiliation)

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    Analysis and discussion of Social Security policy are usually based on expected fiscal and societal outcomes. However, future demographic and economic trends are uncertain, and thus ultimate outcomes for aggregate system financial flows and the distribution of taxes and benefits across generations are uncertain. This paper analyzes a state-dependent approach to policy in which future Social Security benefit formulas are tied to realized economic and demographic outcomes over time. The results, based on a microsimulation model with stochastic capabilities, show the extent to which it is possible to systematically address uncertainty about system finances and distributional outcomes. © 2007 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20263
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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 507-525

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:26:y:2007:i:3:p:507-525
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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    1. Lyon, Andrew B. & Stell, John L., 2000. "Analysis of Current Social Security Reform Proposals," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 473-514, September.
    2. Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1981. "Uncertainty and Optimal Social Security Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 189-206, May.
    3. Kent Smetters, 2004. "Is the Social Security Trust Fund a Store of Value?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 176-181, May.
    4. Roger H. Gordon & Hal R. Varian, 1985. "Intergenerational Risk Sharing," NBER Working Papers 1730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Bohn, Henning, 2001. "Retirement Savings in an Aging Society: A Case for Innovative Government Debt Management," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt59r83559, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    6. Ronald Lee & Ryan Edwards, 2002. "The Fiscal Effects of Population Aging in the U.S.: Assessing the Uncertainties," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 16, pages 141-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2000. "How Effective is Redistribution Under the Social Security Benefit Formula?," NBER Working Papers 7597, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lee, Ronald & Yamagata, Hisashi, 2003. "Sustainable Social Security: What Would It Cost?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(1), pages 27-43, March.
    9. Josh O’Harra & John Sabelhaus & Michael Simpson, 2004. "Overview of the Congressional Budget Office Long-Term (CBOLT) Policy Simulation Model: Technical Paper 2004-01," Working Papers 15188, Congressional Budget Office.
    10. Ronald Lee & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 1998. "Stochastic Forecasts for Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in the Economics of Aging, pages 393-428 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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