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Pension Systems and the Allocation of Macroeconomic Risk

In: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2006

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  • Lans Bovenberg
  • Harald Uhlig

Abstract

This paper explores the optimal risk sharing arrangement between generations in an overlapping generations model with endogenous growth. We allow for nonseparable preferences, paying particular attention to the risk aversion of the old as well as overall ``life-cycle´´ risk aversion. We provide a fairly tractable model, which can serve as a starting point to explore these issues in models with a larger number of periods of life, and show how it can be solved. We provide a general risk sharing condition, and discuss its implications. We explore the properties of the model quantitatively. Among the key findings are the following. First and for reasonable parameters, the old typically bear a larger burden of the risk in productivity surprises, if old-age risk-aversion is smaller than life risk aversion, and vice versa. Thus, it is not necessarily the case that the young ensure smooth consumption of the old. Second, consumption of the young and the old always move in the same direction, even for population growth shocks. This result is in contrast to the result of a fully-funded decentralized system without risk-sharing between generations. Third, persistent increases in longevity will lead to lower total consumption of the old (and thus certainly lower per-period consumption of the old) as well as the young as well as higher work effort of the young. The additional resources are instead used to increase growth and future output, resulting in higher consumption of future generations.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lans Bovenberg & Harald Uhlig, 2008. "Pension Systems and the Allocation of Macroeconomic Risk," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2006, pages 241-344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7038
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Roel M. W. J. Beetsma & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2009. "Pensions and Intergenerational Risk‐sharing in General Equilibrium," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 364-386, April.
    2. R. Beetsma & A. L. Bovenberg, 2006. "Pension systems, intergenerational risk sharing and inflation," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 257, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    3. Du, C. & Muysken, J. & Sleijpen, O.C.H.M., 2010. "Economy wide risk diversification in a three-pillar pension system," Research Memorandum 055, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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