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Optimal Response to a Demographic Shock

  • Juan C. Conesa
  • Carlos Garriga

We examine the optimal policy response to an exogenously given demographic shock. Such a shock affects negatively the financing of retirement pensions, and we use optimal fiscal policy in order to determine the optimal strategy of the social security administration. Our approach provides specific policy responses in an environment that guarantees the financial sustainability of existing retirement pensions. At the same time, pensions will be financed in a way that by construction generates no welfare losses for any of the cohorts in our economy. In contrast to existing literature we endogenously determine optimal policies rather than exploring implications of exogenously given policies. Our results show that the optimal strategy is based in the following ingredients: elimination of compulsory retirement, a change in the structure of labor income taxation and a temporary increase in the level of government debt.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1393.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1393
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  1. Grossman,G.M. & Helpman,E., 1996. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-Lived Governements," Papers 2-96, Tel Aviv.
  2. Carlos Garriga-Calvet, 2000. "Optimal Fiscal Policy in Overlapping Generations Models," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1772, Econometric Society.
  3. 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.
  4. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  5. Hansen, G.D., 1991. "The Cyclical and Secular Behavior of the Labor Input : Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Papers 36, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  6. Andrés Erosa & Martin Gervais, 1998. "Optimal Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9812, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  7. Michele Boldrin & Ana Montes, 2005. "The Intergenerational State Education and Pensions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 651-664.
  8. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1998. "Optimal fiscal and monetary policy," Staff Report 251, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. 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.
  10. Gale, David, 1973. "Pure exchange equilibrium of dynamic economic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, February.
  11. Douglas Gollin, 2001. "Getting Income Shares Right," Department of Economics Working Papers 2001-11, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  12. Juan Carlos Conesa & Carlos Garriga, 2004. "Optimal Design of Social Security Reforms," Working Papers 140, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  13. Karsten Jeske, 2003. "Pension systems and aggregate shocks," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q1, pages 15-31.
  14. 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.
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