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Optimal Design of Social Security Reforms

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Abstract

We argue that a privatization of the social security system, going from a Pay-As-You- Go to a Fully Funded system, can be interpreted as the explicit recognition of an implicit debt and there is no efficiency gain in doing so. As a consequence, potential efficiency gains upon reforming the system come from the elimination of distortions and the optimal management of that implicit debt. Based on that argument, this paper studies the optimal design of a social security privatization in a Pareto improving way. The government decides endogenously how to finance the transition and the welfare of the initial generations alive becomes policy constraint. We find that the government can design a Pareto improving reform that exhibits sizeable welfare gains, arising because of a reduction in labor supply distortions. In contrast, the welfare gain from reducing savings distortions is relatively small. Our approach explicitly provides quantitative policy prescriptions towards the policy design of future and maybe unavoidable social security reforms.

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  • Juan Carlos Conesa & carlos Carriga, 2004. "Optimal Design of Social Security Reforms," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 642.04, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:642.04
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    1. Erosa, Andres & Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(2), pages 338-369, August.
    2. Carlos Garriga-Calvet, 2000. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1772, Econometric Society.
    3. Michele Boldrin & Ana Montes, 2005. "The Intergenerational State Education and Pensions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 651-664.
    4. Luisa Fuster, 1999. "Is Altruism Important for Understanding the Long-Run Effects of Social Security?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 616-637, July.
    5. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
    6. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Garriga, Carlos, 2003. "Status Quo Problem In Social Security Reforms," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(05), pages 691-710, November.
    7. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Would Privatizing Social Security Raise Economic Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 5281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. BOLDRIN, Michele & RUSTICHINI, Aldo, 1994. "Equilibria with Social Security," CORE Discussion Papers 1994060, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    9. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1999. "Projected U.S. Demographics and Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 575-615, July.
    10. 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.
    11. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2003. "A welfare analysis of social security in a dynastic framework," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1247-1274, November.
    12. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
    13. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1999. "Privatizing Social Security in the U.S. -- Comparing the Options," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 532-574, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alfredo Cuevas & Maria Gonzalez & Arnoldo López-Marmolejo & Davide Lombardo, 2008. "Pension Privatization and Country Risk," IMF Working Papers 08/195, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2004. "Optimal Response to a Demographic Shock," Working Papers 157, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Dirk Krueger, 2006. "Public Insurance against Idiosyncratic and Aggregate Risk: The Case of Social Security and Progressive Income Taxation," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(4), pages 587-620, December.

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