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Why are More Redistributive Social Security Systems Smaller? A Median Voter Approach

  • Marko Koethenbuerger
  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()

  • Paola Profeta

We suggest a political economy explanation for the stylized fact that intragenerationally more redistributive social security systems are smaller. Our key insight is that linking benefits to past earnings (less redistributiveness) reduces the efficiency cost of social security (due to endogenous labor supply). This encourages voters who benefit from social security to support higher contribution rates in political equilibrium. We test our theory with a numerical analysis of eight European countries. Our simple, but suggestive median voter model performs relatively well in explaining the stylized fact and cross-country differences in social security contribution rates.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2005/wp-cesifo-2005-02/cesifo1_wp1397.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1397.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1397
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  1. Marko Koethenbuerger & Panu Poutvaara & Paola Profeta, 2005. "Why are More Redistributive Social Security Systems Smaller? A Median Voter Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1397, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2004. "Ageing and the tax implied in public pension schemes: simulations for selected OECD countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 159-200, June.
  3. Casamatta, Georges & Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. " The Political Economy of Social Security," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 503-22, June.
  4. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2004. "Lessons for an Aging Society: The Political Sustainability of Social Security Systems," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2004-7, Center for Retirement Research.
  5. Sinn, Hans-Werner & Uebelmesser, Silke, 2003. "Pensions and the path to gerontocracy in Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 19563, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Panu Poutvaara, 2001. "On the Political Economy of Social Security and Public Education," CESifo Working Paper Series 424, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," NBER Working Papers 7708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Paola Profeta, 2007. "The Redistributive Design of Social Security Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 686-712, 04.
  10. BOADWAY, Robin W. & WILDASIN, David E., . "A median voter model of social security," CORE Discussion Papers RP -839, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Casamatta, Georges & Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 341-364, March.
  12. Guido Tabellini, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 3272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Richard Disney, 2004. "Are contributions to public pension programmes a tax on employment?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(39), pages 267-311, 07.
  14. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2002. "The Double Dividend of Postponing Retirement," IDEI Working Papers 144, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2003.
  15. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Welfare Reform in European Countries: A Microsimulation Analysis," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 28, OECD Publishing.
  16. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
  17. Diamond, Peter A, 1998. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 83-95, March.
  18. 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.
  19. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392 Elsevier.
  20. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
  21. Galasso, Vincenzo, 2000. "The US Social Security: A Financial Appraisal For The Median Voter," CEPR Discussion Papers 2456, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Reforming our pension system: Is it a demographic, financial or political problem?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 974-983, May.
  23. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
  24. Svend E. Hougaard Jensen & Morten I. Lau & Panu Poutvaara, 2004. "Efficiency and Equity Aspects of Alternative Social Security Rules," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(3), pages 325-, September.
  25. Georges Casamatta & Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 2001. "Demographic Shock and Social Security: A Political Economy Perspective," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 417-431, August.
  26. Mulligan Casey B & Sala-i-Martin Xavier, 2004. "Internationally Common Features of Public Old-Age Pensions, and Their Implications for Models of the Public Sector," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37, May.
  27. Galasso, Vincenzo & Profeta, Paola, 2002. "The political economy of social security: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, March.
  28. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-77, September.
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