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Voting on Public Pensions With Hand and Feet: How Young Migrants Try to Escape From Gerontocracy


  • Alexander Haupt
  • Wolfgang Peters


Aging changes the political power in a democracy in favor of the elder generations. Consequently, the retirees can extend the pay-as-you-go financed pensions. Under free labor mobility like within the EU, the success of gerontocracy, nevertheless, is restricted by migration of the young generations. This connection between political voting on intergenerational redistribution and voting with the feet is analyzed in a two-country model with overlapping generations. We distinguish between the case in which the young generations‘ migration decision takes its effect on future pensions into account (strategic migration) and the case in which it only reflects differentials in labor income (myopic migration). The paper also pays attention to the implications of common harmonization principles and to the consequences of price discrimination between natives and immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander Haupt & Wolfgang Peters, 2001. "Voting on Public Pensions With Hand and Feet: How Young Migrants Try to Escape From Gerontocracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 523, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_523

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. 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.
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    5. Meijdam, Lex & Verbon, Harrie A A, 1996. "Aging and Political Decision Making on Public Pensions," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 141-158, May.
    6. Kanbur, Ravi & Keen, Michael, 1993. "Jeux Sans Frontieres: Tax Competition and Tax Coordination When Countries Differ in Size," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 877-892, September.
    7. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
    8. Scholten, Ulrich & Thum, Marcel, 1996. "Public Pensions and Immigration Policy in a Democracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(3-4), pages 347-361, June.
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    11. Haupt, Alexander & Peters, Wolfgang, 1998. "Public Pensions and Voting on Immigration," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(3-4), pages 403-413, June.
    12. Goodspeed, Timothy J., 1998. "On the importance of public choice in migration models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 373-379, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tim Krieger, 2001. "Intergenerational Redistribution and Labor Mobility: A Survey," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(3), pages 339-339, July.
    2. Tamura, Yuji, 2004. "Referendum-Led Immigration Policy In The Welfare State," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 713, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.


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