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Generational Risk–Is It a Big Deal?: Simulating an 80-Period OLG Model with Aggregate Shocks

Author

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  • Jasmina Hasanhodzic

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

    () (Department of Economics, Boston University)

Abstract

The theoretical literature on generational risk assumes that this risk is large and that the government can effectively share it. To assess these assumptions, this paper simulates a realistically calibrated 80-period overlapping generations life-cycle model with aggregate productivity shocks. Previous solution methods could not handle large-scale OLG models such as ours due to the well-known curse of dimensionality. The prior state of the art is Krueger and Kubler (2004, 2006), whose sparse-grid method handles 10 to 30 periods depending on the model’s realism. Other methods used to solve large-scale, multi-period life-cycle models are tenuous because they rely on either local approximations (Rios-Rull, 1994, 1996) or summary statistics of state variables (Krusell and Smith, 1997, 1998). We build on a new algorithm by Judd, Maliar, and Maliar (2009, 2011), which restricts the state space to the model’s ergodic set. This limits the required computation and effectively banishes the dimensionality curse in models like ours. We find that intrinsic generational risk is quite small, that government policies can produce generational risk, and that bond markets can help share generational risk. We also show that a bond market can mitigate risk-inducing government policy. Our simulations produce very small equity premia for three reasons. First, there is relatively little intrinsic generational risk. Second, intrinsic generational risk hits both the young and the old in similar ways. And third, artificially inducing risk between the young and the old via government policy elicits more net supply as well as more net demand for bonds, by the young and the old respectively, leaving the risk premium essentially unchanged. Our results hold even in the presence of rare disasters and very high risk aversion. They echo Lucas’ (1987) and Krusell and Smith’s (1999) point that macroeconomic fluctuations are too small to have major microeconomic consequences.

Suggested Citation

  • Jasmina Hasanhodzic & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2013. "Generational Risk–Is It a Big Deal?: Simulating an 80-Period OLG Model with Aggregate Shocks," BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory Working Paper Series 2013-01, Brigham Young University, Department of Economics, BYU Macroeconomics and Computational Laboratory.
  • Handle: RePEc:byu:byumcl:201301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Steve Ambler & Alain Paquet, 1992. "Stochastic Depreciation and the Business Cycle Puzzle," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 8, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
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    3. Laurence Ball & N. Gregory Mankiw, 2007. "Intergenerational Risk Sharing in the Spirit of Arrow, Debreu, and Rawls, with Applications to Social Security Design," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(4), pages 523-547, August.
    4. Furlanetto, Francesco & Seneca, Martin, 2014. "New Perspectives On Depreciation Shocks As A Source Of Business Cycle Fluctuations," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(06), pages 1209-1233, September.
    5. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Asset Pricing with Idiosyncratic Risk and Overlapping Generations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 519-548, October.
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    7. Krusell, Per & Smith, Anthony A., 1997. "Income And Wealth Heterogeneity, Portfolio Choice, And Equilibrium Asset Returns," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 387-422, June.
    8. George M. Constantinides & John B. Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 2002. "Junior Can't Borrow: A New Perspective on the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 269-296.
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    1. Generational Risk–Is It a Big Deal?: Simulating an 80-Period OLG Model with Aggregate Shocks
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2013-05-30 20:12:48

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, "undated". "Social Security and the Interactions Between Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk," Working Papers ETH-RC-14-002, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.
    2. Lilia Maliar & Serguei Maliar & John B. Taylor & Inna Tsener, 2015. "A Tractable Framework for Analyzing a Class of Nonstationary Markov Models," Economics Working Papers 15105, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    3. Reiter, Michael, 2015. "Solving OLG Models with Many Cohorts, Asset Choice and Large Shocks," Economics Series 320, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    4. Arellano, Cristina & Maliar, Lilia & Maliar, Serguei & Tsyrennikov, Viktor, 2016. "Envelope condition method with an application to default risk models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 436-459.
    5. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, 2015. "Social security in an analytically tractable overlapping generations model with aggregate and idiosyncratic risks," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(4), pages 579-603, August.
    6. Nick Draper & André Nibbelink & Johannes Uhde, 2015. "An Assessment of Alternatives for the Dutch First Pension Pillar System," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 281-302, September.
    7. Seth G. Benzell & Eugene Goryunov & Maria Kazakova & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Guillermo LaGarda & Kristina Nesterova & Andrey Zubarev, 2015. "Simulating Russia’s and Other Large Economies’ Challenging and Interconnected Transitions," NBER Working Papers 21269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Seth G. Benzell & Eugene Goryunov & Maria Kazakova & Guillermo Lagarda & Kristina Nesterova & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, "undated". "Simulating Russia’s and Other Large Economies’ Challenging and Interconnected Transitions," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-274, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    9. Daniel Harenberg & Ludwig, Alexander, 2015. "Idiosyncratic Risk, Aggregate Risk, and the Welfare Effects of Social Security," MEA discussion paper series 201403, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    10. Michael Reiter, 2015. "Solving OLG Models with Asset Choice," 2015 Meeting Papers 1509, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Laurence Kotlikoff, 2013. "The US Fiscal Cliff – When Economists Recklessly Endanger the Economy," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 14(2), pages 03-08, August.
    12. Nick Draper & André Nibbelink & Johannes Uhde, 2013. "An Assessment of Alternatives for the Dutch First Pension Pillar, The Design of Pension Schemes," CPB Discussion Paper 259, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    13. Serguei Maliar & John Taylor & Lilia Maliar, 2016. "The Impact of Alternative Transitions to Normalized Monetary Policy," 2016 Meeting Papers 794, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergenerational Risk Sharing; Government Transfer Policies; Aggregate Shocks; Incomplete Markets; Stochastic Simulation;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models

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