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The Role of Social Security in Household Decisions: Var Estimates of Saving and Fertility Behaviour in Germany

  • Alessandro Cigno
  • Luca Casolaro
  • Furio C. Rosati

Estimating saving and fertility simultaneously by the VAR method, we find that social security cover has a positive effect on household saving, and a negative effect on fertility. In Germany, as in other countries where the hypothesis was tested, social security is thus good for growth. A possible explanation for this unconventional finding is that compulsory saving in the form of pension contributions tends to displace intra-family transfers, rather than asset formation. However, the negative effect of social security on fertility tends to erode the system’s own contributory base, because it reduces the number of future contributors. That is one of the reasons why, in Germany as elsewhere, pay-as-you-go pension systems tend to be financially unstable. To some extent, this is counteracted by child-related benefits, which tend to encourage fertility, but the effect appears to be weak.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 394.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_394
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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  2. Graham, John W., 1989. "International differences in saving rates and the life cycle hypothesis : Reply and further evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1499-1507, September.
  3. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1998. "The Pay-As-You-Go Pension System as a Fertility Insurance and Enforcement Device," NBER Working Papers 6610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  5. Rosati, Furio Camillo, 1996. "Social security in a non-altruistic model with uncertainty and endogenous fertility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 283-294, May.
  6. Niels Haldrup, 1998. "An Econometric Analysis of I(2) Variables," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(5), pages 595-650, December.
  7. Stock, James H, 1987. "Asymptotic Properties of Least Squares Estimators of Cointegrating Vectors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 1035-56, September.
  8. Granger, C. W. J. & Newbold, P., 1974. "Spurious regressions in econometrics," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 111-120, July.
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