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Fertility, Human Capital Accumulation, and the Pension System

  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Firouz Gahvari
  • Pierre Pestieau

This paper provides a unified treatment of externalities associated with fertility and human capital accumulation as they relate to pension systems. It considers as overlapping generations model in which every generation consists of high earners and low earners with the proportion of types being determined endogenously. The number of children is deterministically chosen but the children’s future ability is in part stochastic, in part determined by the family background, and in part through education. In addition to the customary externality source associated with a change in average fertility rate, this setup highlights another externality source. This is due to the effect of a parent’s choice of number and educational attainment of his children on the proportion of high-ability individuals in the steady state. Our results include: (i) Investments in education of high- and low-ability parents must be subsidized, (ii) direct child subsidies to one or both parent types can be negative; i.e., they can be taxes, (iii) net subsidies to children (direct child subsidies plus education subsidies) to high-ability parents are always positive, and to low-ability parents can be positive or negative, (iv) either education subsidies or child subsidies, when used alone, can dominate the other instrument, (v) using child subsidy instruments alone entails a higher fertility rate and a lower ratio of high- to low-ability children, as compared to using education subsidies alone.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2736.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2736
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  1. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Pensions with Endogenous and Stochastic Fertility," IDEI Working Papers 305, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Martin Kolmar, 1997. "Intergenerational redistribution in a small open economy with endogenous fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 335-356.
  3. Philippe Weil, 2008. "Overlapping Generations: The First Jubilee," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 115-34, Fall.
  4. Peters, Wolfgang, 1995. "Public Pensions, Family Allowances and Endogenous Demographic Change," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 161-83, May.
  5. Alessandro Cigno & Annalisa Luporini & Anna Pettini, 2000. "Transfers to Families with Children as a Principal-Agent Problem," CESifo Working Paper Series 351, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Ab O, G. & Mahieu, G. & Patxot, C., 2004. "On the optimality of PAYG pension systems in an endogenous fertility setting," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 35-62, March.
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521681599 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. van Groezen, Bas & Leers, Theo & Meijdam, Lex, 2003. "Social security and endogenous fertility: pensions and child allowances as siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 233-251, February.
  9. CREMER, Helmuth & GAHVARI, Firouz & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2010. "Fertility, human capital accumulation, and the pension system," CORE Discussion Papers 2010054, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Pensions with Heterogenous Individuals and Endogenous Fertility," IDEI Working Papers 313, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. Robert Fenge & Volker Meier, 2005. "Pensions and fertility incentives," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(1), pages 28-48, February.
  12. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2004. "The pay-as-you-go pension system as fertility insurance and an enforcement device," Munich Reprints in Economics 19606, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  13. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
  14. Meier, Volker & Wrede, Matthias, 2010. "Pensions, fertility, and education," Munich Reprints in Economics 19214, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. van Groezen, B.J.A.M. & Leers, T. & Meijdam, A.C., 2000. "Family Size, Looming Demographic Changes and the Efficiency of Social Security Reform," Discussion Paper 2000-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  16. Winfried Pohlmeier & Luc Bauwens & David Veredas, 2007. "High frequency financial econometrics. Recent developments," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/136223, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  17. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467.
  18. Bental, Benjamin, 1989. "The Old Age Security Hypothesis and Optimal Population Growth," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 285-301.
  19. Firouz Gahvari, 2009. "Pensions and fertility: in search of a link," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 418-442, August.
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