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

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  • Marko Köthenbürger
  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()

  • Paola Profeta

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marko Köthenbürger & 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1397
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings-related and flat-rate benefits; social security; public pensions; median voter model;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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