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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. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  2. 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.
  3. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  7. Dirk Niepelt & Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, 2007. "Sustaining Social Security," 2007 Meeting Papers 95, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. repec:wop:bodewp:218 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. 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.
  10. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-lived Governments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Martin Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2007. "The Future of Social Security," Working Papers 07.02, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  14. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 1995. "Is Social Security Really Bad For Growth?," Working Papers 218, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  15. Boldrin, Michele & Montes, Ana, 2002. "The Intergenerational State: Education and Pensions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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