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Social security and retirement decision: a positive and normative approach

  • CREMER, Helmuth
  • LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

Social insurance for the elderly is judged responsible for the widely observed trend towards early retirement. In a world of laissez-faire or in a first-best setting, there would be no such trend. However, when first-best instruments are not available, because health and productivity are not observable, the optimal social insurance policy may imply a distortion on the retirement decision. The main point we make is that while there is no doubt that retirement systems induce an excessive bias towards early in many countries, a complete elimination of this bias (i.e., a switch to an actuarially fair system) is not the right answer. This is so and for two reasons. First, some distortions are second-best optimal. This is the normative argument. Second, and on the positive side, the elimination of the bias might be problematic from a political perspective. Depending on the political process, it may either not be feasible or alternatively it may tend to undermine the political support for the pension system itself.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2006019.

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Date of creation: 00 Feb 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2006019
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  1. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1986. " Payroll-Tax Financed Social Insurance with Variable Retirement," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 25-50.
  2. Cremer Helmuth & Lozachmeur Jean-Marie & Pestieau Pierre, 2007. "Disability Testing and Retirement," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-34, February.
  3. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2004. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," NBER Working Papers 10792, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Conde-Ruiz, J.I. & Galasso, V., 2000. "Early Retirement," Economics Working Papers eco2000/24, European University Institute.
  5. Sveinbjörn Blöndal & Stefano Scarpetta, 1999. "The Retirement Decision in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 202, OECD Publishing.
  6. J. A. Mirrlees & P. Diamond, 1982. "Social Insurance with Variable Retirement and Private Saving," Working papers 296, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Georges Casamatta & Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 2006. "Is there a Political Support for the Double Burden on Prolonged Activity?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 143-154, May.
  8. Conde-Ruiz, J. Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2004. "The macroeconomics of early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1849-1869, August.
  9. Pierre Pestieau, 2001. "Are We Retiring too Early?," CESifo Working Paper Series 522, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Georges Casamatta & Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 2005. "Voting on Pensions with Endogenous Retirement Age," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 7-28, January.
  11. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-55, December.
  12. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Social security, retirement age and optimal income taxation," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1722, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Retirement Age and Health Expenditures," IDEI Working Papers 306, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  14. Robert Fenge & Pierre Pestieau, 2005. "Social Security and Early Retirement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062496, June.
  15. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
  16. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "The double dividend of postponing retirement," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1696, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  17. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302, July.
  18. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
  19. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, . "The Macroeconomics of Early Retirement," Working Papers 2003-05, FEDEA.
  20. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Optimal retirements and disability benefits with audit," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1836, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  22. Jonathan Gruber & David Wise, 2005. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Fiscal Implications, Introduction and Summary," NBER Working Papers 11290, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, . "Early retirement," Working Papers 2003-03, FEDEA.
  24. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, May.
  25. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  26. Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan & David A. Wise, 2009. "Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: The Relationship to Youth Employment, Introduction and Summary," NBER Working Papers 14647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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