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Population Ageing, Government Budgets, and Productivity Growth in Politico-Economic Equilibrium

  • Gonzalez-Eiras, Martin
  • Niepelt, Dirk

We analyze the effect of changes in fertility and longevity on taxes, the composition of government spending, and productivity. To that purpose, we introduce politics in an OLG economy with endogenous growth due to human and physical capital accumulation. Population ageing shifts political power from students and workers to retirees, leading to a reallocation of resources from education spending to retirement benefits and a slowdown of productivity growth. Calibrated to U.S. data, the closed-form solutions of the model predict retirement benefits as a share of GDP to strongly increase over the next decades and the education share to fall. This effect depresses the annual productivity growth rate by 10 basis points. In spite of higher labor-income taxes, per-capita labour supply is predicted to rise, as a consequence of increased life expectancy. The equilibrium allocation is consumption and production efficient, but the political process allocates a much smaller share of resources to eduction than a Ramsey planner with balanced welfare weights.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6581.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6581
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  1. William F. Blankenau & Nicole B. Simpson & Marc Tomljanovich, 2007. "Public Education Expenditures, Taxation, and Growth: Linking Data to Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 393-397, May.
  2. Thomas J. Sargent & Marco Bassetto, 2004. "Politics and Efficiency of Separating Capital and Ordinary Government Budgets," 2004 Meeting Papers 3, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Martín Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2005. "Sustaining Social Security," CESifo Working Paper Series 1494, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-lived Governments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Martin Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2007. "The Future of Social Security," Working Papers 07.02, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  6. Dirk Niepelt & Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, 2011. "Economic and Politico-Economic Equivalence of Fiscal Policies," 2011 Meeting Papers 58, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Campbell, John Y & Viceira, Luis M, 2005. "The Term Structure of the Risk-Return Tradeoff," CEPR Discussion Papers 4914, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 1999. "Is Social Security Really Bad for Growth?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 796-819, October.
  9. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  10. Antonio Rangel, 2003. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: Why Is Social Security Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 813-834, June.
  11. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
  13. Mulligan Casey B & Sala-i-Martin Xavier, 2004. "Internationally Common Features of Public Old-Age Pensions, and Their Implications for Models of the Public Sector," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37, May.
  14. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  15. Michele Boldrin & Ana Montes, 2004. "The intergenerational state: education and pensions," Staff Report 336, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  16. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
  17. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1997. "Politico-economic equilibrium and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 243-272, January.
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