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Voting over type and generosity of a pension system when some individuals are myopic

In: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement

  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Philippe De Donder
  • Dario Maldonado
  • Pierre Pestieau

This paper studies the determination through majority voting of a pension scheme when society consists of far-sighted and myopic individuals. All individuals have the same basic preferences but myopics tend to adopt a short term view (instant gratification) when dealing with retirement saving. Consequently, they will find themselves with low consumption after retirement and regret their insufficient savings decisions. Henceforth, when voting they tend to commit themselves into forced saving. We consider a pension scheme that is characterized by two parameters: the payroll tax rate (that determines the size or generosity of the system) and the 'Bismarckian factor' that determines its redistributiveness. Individuals vote sequentially. We examine how the introduction of myopic agents affects the generosity and the redistributiveness of the pension system. Our main result is that a flat pension system is always chosen when all individuals are of one kind (all far-sighted or all myopic), while a less redistributive system may be chosen if society is composed of both myopic and far-sighted agents. Furthermore, while myopic individuals tend to prefer larger payroll taxes than their far-sighted counterparts, the generosity of the system does not always increase with the proportion of myopics.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Sören Blomquist & Roger Gordon, 2007. "Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blom07-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 4364.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:4364
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Roland Benabou and Jean Tirole, 2004. "Willpower and Personal Rules," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 848-886, August.
    2. André Masson & Daniel Verger & Luc Arrondel, 2004. "Mesurer les préférences individuelles pour le présent," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 374(1), pages 87-128.
    3. Assar Lindbeck & Mats Persson, 2003. "The Gains from Pension Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 74-112, March.
    4. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
    5. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Paola Profeta, 2007. "The Redistributive Design of Social Security Systems," Working Papers 2007-07, FEDEA.
    6. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
    7. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    8. 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.
    9. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
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