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The Role of Immigration in Sustaining the Social Security System: A Political Economy Approach

  • Edith Sand
  • Assaf Razin

In the political debate people express the idea that immigrants are good because they can help pay for the old. The paper explores this idea in a dynamic political-economy setup. We characterize sub-game perfect Markov equilibria where immigration policy and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) social security system are jointly determined through a majority voting process. The main feature of the model is that immigrants are desirable for the sustainability of the social security system, because the political system is able to manipulate the ratio of old to young and thereby the coalition which supports future high social security benefits. We demonstrate that the older is the native born population the more likely is that the immigration policy is liberalized; which in turn has a positive effect on the sustainability of the social security system.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-04/cesifo1_wp1979.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1979.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1979
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  1. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 144, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. 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.
  3. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1999. "Unskilled Migration: A Burden or a Boon for the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 7013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 1998. "On the political economy of immigration and income redistribution," Working Papers 9804, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  5. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Phillip Swagel, 2002. "The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 900-918, August.
  6. Lorenzo Forni, 2005. "Social Security as Markov Equilibrium in OLG Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(1), pages 178-194, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Breyer, Friedrich & Craig, Ben, 1997. "Voting on social security: Evidence from OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 705-724, December.
  9. Kjetil Storesletten, 2000. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy through Immigration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 300-323, April.
  10. John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2001. "The survival of the welfare state," Economics Working Papers 603, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  11. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
  12. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1989. "Social Security as Trade among Living Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1182-95, December.
  13. Harrie Verbon & Marijn Verhoeven, 1992. "Decision making on pension schemes under rational expectations," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 71-97, February.
  14. Phillip Swagel & Efraim Sadka & Assaf Razin, 2002. "The Aging of the Population and the Size of the Welfare State," IMF Working Papers 02/68, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Razin, A. & Sadka, E. & Swagel, P., 1998. "Tax Burden and Migration: a Political Economy Theory and Evidence," Papers 15-98, Tel Aviv.
  16. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Gerontocracy, retirement, and social security," Economics Working Papers 383, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  17. Krusell, Per & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(2), pages 301-29, April.
  18. Bohn, Henning, 1999. "Will social security and Medicare remain viable as the U.S. population is aging?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-53, June.
  19. Theodore C. Bergstrom & John L. Hartman, 2005. "Demographics and the Political Sustainability of Pay-as-you-go Social Security," CESifo Working Paper Series 1378, CESifo Group Munich.
  20. Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 394, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. 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.
  22. Ortega, Francesc, 2005. "Immigration quotas and skill upgrading," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1841-1863, September.
  23. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2004. "Welfare Migration: Is the Net Fiscal Burden a Good Measure of Its Economic Impact on the Welfare of the Native Born Population?," NBER Working Papers 10682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Martin S. Feldstein, 2006. "The Effects of the Ageing European Population on Economic Growth and Budgets: Implications for Immigration and Other Policies," NBER Working Papers 12736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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