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Optimal Social Security Design

Author

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  • Miles, David K
  • Sefton, James

Abstract

This Paper considers the optimal design of public pension provision for the retired and income support for those of working age. We consider social security systems that differ in terms of the level of benefits, degree of means testing and the nature of contributions. We aim to find which system maximises the expected utility of agents behind an initial veil of ignorance about their future labour productivity. We also explore whether systems which differ from the (ex-ante) optimal one could be reformed. We ask whether agents who already know what their productivity is would vote for a move towards a system that they would have found optimal from behind a veil of ignorance about their own position on the wages ladder. We also consider which systems could be sustained in an economy where reform is decided by majority voting. We find a substantial role for means testing in optimal welfare systems. We also find the possibility of multiple equilbria in welfare systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Miles, David K & Sefton, James, 2002. "Optimal Social Security Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3290, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3290
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gianluca Baio & Laura Magazzini & Claudia Oglialoro & Fabio Pammolli & Massimo Riccaboni, 2005. "Medical Devices: Competitiveness and Impact on Public Health Expenditure," Working Papers CERM 05-2005, Competitività, Regole, Mercati (CERM).
    2. Sanchez-Marcos, Virginia & Sanchez-Martin, Alfonso R., 2006. "Can social security be welfare improving when there is demographic uncertainty?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(9-10), pages 1615-1646.
    3. Alex Michaelides & Francisco Gomes, 2003. "(UBS Pensions series 18) Aggregate Implications of Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Systems," FMG Discussion Papers dp469, Financial Markets Group.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    optimal taxes; pensions; social security;

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General

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