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Voting over type and generosity of a pension system when some individuals are myopic

  • CREMER, Helmuth
  • DE DONDER, Philippe
  • MALDONADO, Dario
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

This paper studies the determination through majority voting of a pension scheme when society consists of far-sighted and myopic individuals. All individuals have the same basic preferences but myopics tend to adopt a short term view (instant gratification) when dealing with retirement saving. Consequently, they will find themselves with low consumption after retirement and regret their insufficient savings decisions. Henceforth, when voting they tend to commit themselves into forced saving. We consider a pension scheme that is characterized by two parameters: the payroll tax rate (that determines the size or generosity of the system) and the 'Bismarckian factor' that determines its redistributiveness. Individuals vote sequentially. We examine how the introduction of myopic agents affects the generosity and the redistributiveness of the pension system. Our main result is that a flat pension system is always chosen when all individuals are of one kind (all far-sighted or all myopic), while a less redistributive system may be chosen if society is composed of both myopic and far-sighted agents. Furthermore, while myopic individuals tend to prefer larger payroll taxes than their far-sighted counterparts, the generosity of the system does not always increase with the proportion of myopics.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -2051.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-2051
Note: In : Journal of Public Economics, 91, 2041-2061, 2007
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  1. André Masson & Daniel Verger & Luc Arrondel, 2004. "Mesurer les préférences individuelles pour le présent," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 374(1), pages 87-128.
  2. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Willpower and Personal Rules," CEPR Discussion Papers 3143, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  5. Michele Boldrin & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Political Equilibria with Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 41-78, January.
  6. Lindbeck, Assar & Persson, Mats, 2002. "The Gains from Pension Reform," Working Paper Series 580, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  8. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
  9. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Paola Profeta, 2007. "The Redistributive Design of Social Security Systems," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 686-712, 04.
  10. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
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