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Fiscal Sustainability and Demographics - Should We Save or Work More?

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  • Andersen, Torben M

Abstract

Approaching demographic shifts are raising concerns about fiscal sustainability in most OECD countries. A widespread view based on the tax-smoothing idea is that a prior consolidation of public finances is required to cope with the predicted trend deterioration in the primary budget balance. Both positive aspects in assessing the order of magnitude of sustainability problems and normative aspects of formulating policy strategies are addressed. It is argued that the smoothing argument cannot unconditionally be applied to the demographic problem. It is important to distinguish between increases in the dependency ratio driven by changes in fertility and longevity. For the former the smoothing argument may be appropriate, but not for the latter. In the case of longevity, a trade-off between consolidation and increasing retirement ages becomes relevant, and there are strong arguments why the latter should be pursued by e.g. linking retirement ages to longevity.

Suggested Citation

  • Andersen, Torben M, 2008. "Fiscal Sustainability and Demographics - Should We Save or Work More?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7044, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7044
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mulligan Casey B & Sala-i-Martin Xavier, 2004. "Political and Economic Forces Sustaining Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-56, May.
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    6. Andersen, Torben M., 2008. "Increasing longevity and social security reforms--A legislative procedure approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 633-646, April.
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    9. Boris Cournède & Frédéric Gonand, 2006. "Restoring Fiscal Sustainability in the Euro Area: Raise Taxes or Curb Spending?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 520, OECD Publishing.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; fiscal sustainability; longevity; Tax smoothing;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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