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Ageing and Fiscal Imbalances Across Generations: Concepts of Measurement

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  • Robert Fenge
  • Martin Werding

Abstract

In the literature, several approaches have been taken to measure the impact of demographic ageing on public pension schemes, with particular attention being paid to potential fiscal imbalances across the generations involved in demographic transition. In this paper, we review three of these measures - viz., "net pension liabilities" and "general government fiscal balances" as suggested by the OECD, as well as "generational accounting" in the Auerbach- Kotlikoff tradition. We show how these approaches are related to each other by the general idea that unfunded pensions create an implicit public debt, and we discuss the problems involved in applying and interpreting them in a real-world context. In addition, we suggest the "implicit tax" entailed in public pensions as a further concept for measuring the inter-generational distribution of burdens arising in ageing populations. The notion of an implicit tax is straightforward from simple pension algebra; it is easy to interpret in a theoretical perspective; and it can be introduced to various kinds of applied work using micro-level data.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2003. "Ageing and Fiscal Imbalances Across Generations: Concepts of Measurement," CESifo Working Paper Series 842, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_842
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    3. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1991. "Generational Accounts: A Meaningful Alternative to Deficit Accounting," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 55-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heikki Oksanen, 2004. "Public Pensions in the national accounts and public finance targets," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 207, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    2. Martin Werding, 2006. "Kinderrente und Vorsorgepflicht - der ifo-Vorschlag zur Lösung der demographischen Krise des Rentensystems," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 59(07), pages 44-53, April.
    3. Gabriele Semeraro, 2007. "Should financial accounts include future pension liabilities," IFC Bulletins chapters,in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Proceedings of the IFC Conference on "Measuring the financial position of the household sector", Basel, 30-31 August 2006 - Volume 1, volume 25, pages 179-198 Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Seppo Honkapohja & John Kay & Willi Leibfritz & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Xavier Vives, 2005. "Chapter 4: Pensions and Children," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 69-101, March.
    5. Rydell, Ingrid, 2005. "Equity, Justice, Interdependence: Intergenerational Transfers and the Ageing Population," Arbetsrapport 2005:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
    6. Martin Werding & Sonja Munz & Vera Gács, 2008. "Fertility and prosperity : links between demography and economic growth," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 42, October.
    7. Robert Fenge & Martin Werding, 2004. "Ageing and the tax implied in public pension schemes: simulations for selected OECD countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, pages 159-200.
    8. Martin Werding, 2005. "Survivor Benefits and the Gender Tax Gap in Public Pension Schemes: Observations from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1596, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Martin Werding, 2007. "Versicherungsmathematisch korrekte Rentenabschläge für die gesetzliche Rentenversicherung," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 60(16), pages 19-32, August.
    10. Knell, Markus, 2010. "How automatic adjustment factors affect the internal rate of return of PAYG pension systems," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 1-23, January.
    11. Heikki Oksanen, 2004. "Public Pensions in the National Accounts and Public Finance Targets," CESifo Working Paper Series 1214, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Kilponen, Juha & Kinnunen, Helvi & Ripatti, Antti, 2006. "Population ageing in a small open economy : some policy experiments with a tractable general equilibrium model," Research Discussion Papers 28/2006, Bank of Finland.
    13. Metzger, Christoph, 2016. "The German statutory pension scheme: Balance sheet, cross-sectional internal rates of return and implicit tax rates," FZG Discussion Papers 63, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    14. Martin Werding & Herbert Hofmann, 2005. "Die fiskalische Bilanz eines Kindes im deutschen Steuer- und Sozialsystem : Studie im Auftrag der Robert Bosch Stiftung," ifo Forschungsberichte, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 27, October.
    15. Carlos Vidal-Meliá & María del Carmen Boado-Penas, 2013. "Compiling the actuarial balance for pay-as-you-go pension systems. Is it better to use the hidden asset or the contribution asset?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(10), pages 1303-1320, April.
    16. Werding, Martin, 2006. "Implicit Pension Debt and the Role of Public Pensions for Human Capital Accumulation: An Assessment for Germany," Discussion Paper 283, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    17. Martin Werding, 2005. "Survivor Benefits and the Gender Tax-Gap in Public Pension Schemes Work Incentives and Options for Reform," ifo Working Paper Series 7, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    18. Juha Kilponen & Helvi Kinnunen & Antti Ripatti, 2006. "Demographic Uncertainty and Labour Market Imperfections in Small Open Economy," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 227, Society for Computational Economics.
    19. Knell, Markus, 2013. "The Intergenerational Distribution of Demographic Fluctuations in Unfunded and Funded Pension Systems," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79830, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    20. Koch, Daniel, 2011. "Wirksame Begrenzung von Staatsverschuldung auf europäischer Ebene," Discussion Paper Series 114, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.

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    Keywords

    demographic ageing; public pensions; fiscal policy; inter-generational redistribution; measurement;

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