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Pension Funding and Individual Accounts in Economies with Life-cyclers and Myopes

  • Hans Fehr
  • Fabian Kindermann

The present paper studies the growth and efficiency consequences of pension funding with individual retirement accounts in a general equilibrium overlapping generations model with idiosyncratic lifespan and labor income uncertainty. We distinguish between economies with rational and hyperbolic consumers and compare the consequences of voluntary and mandatory retirement plans. Three major findings are derived in our study: First, we quantify the commitment effect of social security for myopic individuals by roughly 1 percent of aggregate resources. It is possible to recapture this commitment technology in IRAs, if those are annuitized. Second, despite the fact that our consumers have an operative bequest motive, the welfare gain from the (implicit) longevity insurance of the pension system is significant and amounts to roughly 0.5 percent of aggregate resources. However, mandatory annuitization reduces unintended bequests so that future generations are significantly hurt. Finally, our results highlight the importance of liquidity effects for social security analysis. These efficiency gains are only attainable if accounts are voluntary and not mandatory.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2724.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2724
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  1. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Personal Security Accounts and Mandatory Annuitization in a Dynastic Framework," CESifo Working Paper Series 1405, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
  3. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann, 2008. "Private Retirement Savings in Germany: The Structure of Tax Incentives and Annuitization," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 133, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Kevin Milligan, 2000. "How Do Contribution Limits Affect Contributions to Tax-Preferred Savings Accounts?," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 27, McMaster University.
  5. Assar Lindbeck & Mats Persson, 2003. "The Gains from Pension Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 74-112, March.
  6. Butler, Monika, 2002. " Tax-Benefit Linkages in Pension Systems: A Note," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 405-15.
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  8. Monika Bütler & Federica Teppa, 2007. "The choice between an annuity and a lump sum: Results from Swiss pension funds," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 1944-1966 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hans Fehr & Christian Habermann & Fabian Kindermann, 2006. "Tax-Favored Retirement Accounts: Are they Efficient in Increasing Savings and Growth?," Working Papers 012, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  10. Pries, Michael J., 2007. "Social Security reform and intertemporal smoothing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 25-54, January.
  11. Cremer, Helmuth & De Donder, Philippe & Maldonado, Dario & Pestieau, Pierre, 2007. "Voting over type and generosity of a pension system when some individuals are myopic," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 2041-2061, November.
  12. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
  13. Stephen G. Cecchetti & Pok-sang Lam & Nelson C. Mark, 1998. "Asset Pricing with Distorted Beliefs: Are Equity Returns Too Good To Be True?," NBER Working Papers 6354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Robert Fenge & Silke Uebelmesser & Martin Werding, 2006. "On the Optimal Timing of Implicit Social Security Taxes Over the Life Cycle," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(1), pages 68-107, March.
  16. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:2:p:745-784 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. John Geanakoplos & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2008. "Reforming Social Security with Progressive Personal Accounts," NBER Working Papers 13979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
  20. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
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  22. Love, David A., 2007. "What can the life-cycle model tell us about 401(k) contributions and participation?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(02), pages 147-185, July.
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  25. Dirk Krueger, 2006. "Public Insurance against Idiosyncratic and Aggregate Risk: The Case of Social Security and Progressive Income Taxation," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(4), pages 587-620, December.
  26. Fehr, Hans & Habermann, Christian, 2008. "Welfare effects of life annuities: Some clarifications," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 177-180, April.
  27. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
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  29. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
  30. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Consumption Taxes and Economic Efficiency with Idiosyncratic Wage Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1088-1115, October.
  31. Love, David, 2006. "Buffer stock saving in retirement accounts," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1473-1492, October.
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