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The Intergenerational State: Education and Pensions

  • Boldrin, Michele
  • Montes, Ana

When credit markets to finance investment in the human capital of young people are missing, the competitive equilibrium allocation is inefficient. When generations overlap, this failure can be mitigated by properly designed social institutions such as public education and public pensions. We show that, when established jointly, they implement an intergenerational transfer scheme supporting the complete market allocation. Through the public financing of education, the young borrow, from the middle age to invest in human capital. When employed, they pay back their debt via a social security tax, the proceedings of which finance pension payments to the now elderly lenders. We consider other, allocationally equivalent, financing schemes. In all cases, when the complete market allocation is achieved a certain equality should be observed among implicit rates of return and the market rate of return. We test this prediction by using micro and macro data from Spain. The results are, surprisingly, good. We also use the model to quantify the impact of undergoing demographic change on the implicit rates of return. The results point, unsurprisingly, to dramatic changes in generational rates of return. Contrary to what predicted by earlier studies in the generational accounting tradition, our findings suggest that future generations are not necessarily going to be worse than current ones.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3275.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3275
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  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," UCLA Economics Working Papers 151, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Ana Montes, 2002. "Educación para los jóvenes y pensiones para los mayores: ¿Existe alguna relación? Evidencia para España," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 26(1), pages 145-185, January.
  3. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-77, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Michele Boldrin, 2005. "Public Education and Capital Accumulation," Levine's Bibliography 172782000000000090, UCLA Department of Economics.
  6. Cass, David, 1972. "Distinguishing inefficient competitive growth paths: A note on capital overaccumulation and rapidly diminishing future value of consumption in a fairly general model of capitalistic production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 224-240, April.
  7. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Torsten Persson & Lars E.O. Svensson, 1986. "Laws as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time Consistency Problem," NBER Working Papers 2068, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:wop:bodewp:218 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Cremer, Helmuth & Kessler, Denis & Pestieau, Pierre, 1992. "Intergenerational transfers within the family," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-16, January.
  10. Neher, Philip A, 1971. "Peasants, Procreation, and Pensions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 380-89, June.
  11. Robert C. Merton, 1981. "On the Role of Social Security as a Means for Efficient Risk-Bearing in an Economy Where Human Capital Is Not Tradeable," NBER Working Papers 0743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "The Family and the State," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, April.
  13. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Generational Accounting around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number auer99-1, December.
  14. Robert J. Barro & Gary S. Becker, . "Fertility Choice in a Model of Economic Growth," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-8, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  15. Antonio Rangel, 2000. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: A Theory of Intergenerational Exchange," NBER Working Papers 7518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Michele Boldrin & Larry E. Jones, 2002. "Mortality, Fertility, and Saving in a Malthusian Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 775-814, October.
  17. Kehoe, Timothy J & Levine, David K, 2001. "Liquidity Constrained Markets versus Debt Constrained Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(3), pages 575-98, May.
  18. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 1995. "Is Social Security Really Bad For Growth?," Working Papers 218, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
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