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To what Extent are Public Pensions Pareto-improving? On the Interaction of Means Tested Basic Income and Public Pensions

Author

Listed:
  • Robert Fenge
  • Jakob von Weizsäcker

Abstract

If there is a means tested basic income for old age, households will tend to reduce precautionary savings to an inefficiently low level. This might serve as a justification for a public pension system. In a representative agent framework, indeed, the introduction of a compulsory pension s ystem is shown to be Pareto improving. This analysis is extended to two income types where compulsory savings are found to be Pareto improving only up to a point. Increases in contribution rates beyond that point simply result in increasingly regressive (implicit) taxation, potentially eliminating all redistribution via the means tested basic income. Using these results in a pay-as-you-go framework, we show that an unfunded pensions system (with intragenerational fairness) plays a role similar to compulsor y savings in preventing the savings moral hazard and could have the same adverse effects on redistribution if it is too large. If the population is aging, however, an unfunded system with a constant contribution rate is found to become less effective at pr eventing the savings moral hazard. In this case, the introduction of a funded system of the right size is needed to restore Pareto efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Fenge & Jakob von Weizsäcker, 1999. "To what Extent are Public Pensions Pareto-improving? On the Interaction of Means Tested Basic Income and Public Pensions," CESifo Working Paper Series 197, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_197
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo_wp197.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Would Privatizing Social Security Raise Economic Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 5281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
    3. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
    4. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 1998. "Social insurance, majority voting and labor mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 397-420, June.
    5. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-1182, December.
    6. John Laitner, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 275-299.
    7. Homburg, Stefan & Richter, Wolfram, 1990. "Eine effizienzorientierte Reform der GRV," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 183-191..
    8. 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 373-388, September.
    9. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent A. Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1998. "Opting Out of Social Security and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 6430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kai A. Konrad & Gert Wagner, 2000. "Reform of the Public Pension System in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 200, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2000. "Why a Funded Pension System is Needed and Why It is Not Needed," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 7(4), pages 389-410, August.
    3. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2000. "Why a Funded Pension System is Useful and Why It is Not Useful," Munich Reprints in Economics 19859, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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