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On the Political Complementarity Between Health Care and Social Security

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  • Bethencourt Marrero, Carlos
  • Galasso, Vincenzo

Abstract

The dramatic rise in the US social security and public health expenditure is only partially explained by the demographic trend. We suggest that the political complementarity between these two programmes induced a multiplicative response to the ageing process. Public health care increases the political constituency in favour of social security, and vice versa. Specifically, public health decreases the longevity differential between low and high-income individuals, therefore rising the retirement period and the total pension benefits of the former relatively to the latter. This effect, whose empirical relevance is confirmed by independent studies, increases the political support for social security among the low-income young. We show that in a political equilibrium of a two-dimensional majoritarian election, a voting majority of low-income young and all retirees supports a large welfare state. Its composition between public health and social security is determined by intermediate (median) income types, who favour a combination of the two programs, since public health increases their longevity enough to make social security more attractive.

Suggested Citation

  • Bethencourt Marrero, Carlos & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2001. "On the Political Complementarity Between Health Care and Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 2788, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2788
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rainald Borck, 2007. "On the Choice of Public Pensions when Income and Life Expectancy Are Correlated," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 9(4), pages 711-725, August.
    2. Gilles Le Garrec, 2005. "Systèmes de retraite et vieillissement," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2005-21, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    3. William B. P. Robson, 2001. "Six Pillars of Social Policy: The State of Pensions and Health Care in Canada," The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater,in: Patrick Grady & Andrew Sharpe (ed.), The State of Economics in Canada: Festschrift in Honour of David Slater, pages 183-224 Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogenous Longevity; Subgame Perfect Structure Induced Equilibrium;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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