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The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State

Author

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  • Razin, Assaf
  • Sadka, Efraim
  • Swagel, Phill

Abstract

Data for the United States and countries in Western Europe indicate a negative correlation between the dependency ratio and labour tax rates and the generosity of social transfers, after controlling for other factors that influence the size of the welfare state. This is despite the increased political clout of the dependent population implied by the aging of the population. This Paper develops an overlapping generations model of intra-and inter-generational transfers (including old-age social security) and human capital formation which addresses this seeming puzzle. We show that with democratic voting, an increase in the dependency ratio can lead to lower taxes or less generous social transfers.

Suggested Citation

  • Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phill, 2001. "The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 2930, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2930
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Assaf Razin & Joel Slemrod, 1990. "Taxation in the Global Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number razi90-1.
    2. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 2002. "Political economics and public finance," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 24, pages 1549-1659 Elsevier.
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    4. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    5. Jacob Frenkel & Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 1991. "International Taxation in an Integrated World," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061430, January.
    6. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Phillip Swagel, 2002. "The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 900-918, August.
    7. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Unemployment, growth and taxation in industrial countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 47-104, April.
    8. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1995. "Resisting Migration: Wage Rigidity and Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 312-316, May.
    9. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
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    11. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Asea, Patrick, 1997. "On the ineffectiveness of tax policy in altering long-run growth: Harberger's superneutrality conjecture," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 99-126, October.
    12. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1994. "Unemployment, wage rigidity, and the returns to education," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 535-543, April.
    13. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    14. David E. Wildasin, 1994. "Income Redistribution and Migration," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 637-656, August.
    15. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
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    17. Casey B. Mulligan, 2000. "Induced Retirement, Social Security, and the Pyramid Mirage," NBER Working Papers 7679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
    19. Michael Lovell, 1975. "The collective allocation of commodities in a democratic society," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 71-92, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal leakage; overlapping-generations model; pay-as-you-go Tax-transfer system;

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General

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