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The Reform of Pension Systems: Winners and Losers Across Generations


  • Iben, Andreas
  • Miles, David K


In this paper we perform simulations with a stylized model of Germany and the United Kingdom to show which generations might be direct gainers, and which losers, from a transition to funded state pensions. We estimate what the structure of inter-generational bequests would need to be in a pre-reform equilibrium for different generations to be insulated from the effects of a transition to a fully funded pension system. We calibrate a simple overlapping generations model and estimate the money value of the losses or gains to each generation as the unfunded state system is wound down. If there is altruism toward future generations, bequests of wealth are likely to exist. We show that it is likely that more than one generation will be direct losers as a result of a transition (especially in Germany). If more than one generation are direct losers, then in order for those generations not to be net losers, the chain of bequests (in the initial equilibrium) needs to satisfy a simple condition: this is that the cumulated value of the sum of losses of all the previous generations that are direct losers needs to be less than the pre-reform bequest of each generation to the next generation.

Suggested Citation

  • Iben, Andreas & Miles, David K, 1998. "The Reform of Pension Systems: Winners and Losers Across Generations," CEPR Discussion Papers 1943, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1943

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Matching, Heterogeneity, and the Evolution of Income Distribution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 61-92, March.
    2. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
    3. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-164.
    4. Raquel Fernandez & Jordi Gali, 1997. "To Each According To...? Markets, Tournaments, and the Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," NBER Working Papers 5930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    6. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-1189, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Disney & Robert Palacios & Edward Whitehouse, 1999. "Individual choice of pension arrangement as a pension reform strategy," IFS Working Papers W99/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Michele Boldrin & Juan J. Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno & Franco Peracchi, "undated". "The future of pension systems in Europe. A reappraisal," Working Papers 99-08, FEDEA.

    More about this item


    Demographics; Overlapping Generations; Pensions; Saving;

    JEL classification:

    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts


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