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How Powerful is Demography? The Serendipity Theorem Revisited

  • David de la CROIX

    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques etSsociales (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • Pierre PESTIEAU

    (University of Liege, CORE, Paris School of Economics and CEPR)

  • Gregory PONTHIERE

    (Paris School of Economics and Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris)

Introduced by Samuelson (1975), the Serendipity Theorem states that the competitive economy will converge towards the optimum steady-state provided the optimum population growth rate is imposed. This paper aims at exploring whether the Serendipity Theorem still holds in an economy with risky lifetime. We show that, under general conditions, including a perfect annuity market with actuarially fair return, imposing the optimum fertility rate and the optimum survival rate leads the competitive economy to the optimum steady-state. That Extended Serendipity Theorem is also shown to hold in economies where old adults work some fraction of the old-age, whatever the retirement age is fixed or chosen by the agents.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2009040.

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Length: 20
Date of creation: 11 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2009040
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  1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2004. "Natural Selection and the Evolution of Life Expectancy," GE, Growth, Math methods 0409004, EconWPA.
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  3. Pierre-André Jouvet & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2007. "Longevity and environmental quality in an OLG model," EconomiX Working Papers 2007-19, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  4. G. ABIO & Géraldine MAHIEU & C. Patxot, 2002. "On the Optimality of PAYG Pension Systems in an Endogenous Fertility Setting," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  5. Samuelson, Paul A, 1975. "The Optimum Growth Rate for Population," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(3), pages 531-38, October.
  6. Gemma Abio, 2003. "Interiority of the optimal population growth rate with endogenous fertility," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(4), pages 1-7.
  7. Matthias Doepke, 2001. "Accounting for Fertility Decline During the Transition to Growth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 804, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. Michel, Philippe & Pestieau, P, 1993. "Population Growth and Optimality: When Does Serendipity Hold?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 353-62, November.
  9. Hu, Sheng Cheng, 1979. "Social Security, the Supply of Labor, and Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 274-83, June.
  10. Tomas J. Philipson & Gary S. Becker, 1998. "Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 551-573, June.
  11. Gregory Ponthiere, 2009. "Rectangularization And The Rise In Limit-Longevity In A Simple Overlapping Generations Model," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 77(1), pages 17-46, 01.
  12. Omar Licandro & David de la Croix, 2008. "The Child is Father of the Man: Implications for the Demographic Transition," 2008 Meeting Papers 186, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. David, DE LA CROIX, 2008. "On the Golden Rule of capital accumulation under endogenous longevity," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008032, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
  14. Jeffrey R. Brown, 2007. "Rational and Behavioral Perspectives on the Role of Annuities in Retirement Planning," NBER Working Papers 13537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Klaus Jaeger & Wolfgang Kuhle, 2009. "The optimum growth rate for population reconsidered," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 23-41, January.
  16. Shankha Chakraborty, 2002. "Endogenous Lifetime and Economic Growth," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2002-03, University of Oregon Economics Department, revised 26 Jan 2002.
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  18. David De La Croix & Géraldine Mahieu & Alexandra Rillaers, 2004. "How Should the Allocation of Resources Adjust to the Baby Bust?," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 6(4), pages 607-636, October.
  19. Blackburn, Keith & Cipriani, Giam Pietro, 2002. "A model of longevity, fertility and growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 187-204, February.
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  21. Deardorff, Alan V, 1976. "The Optimum Growth Rate for Population: Comment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 17(2), pages 510-15, June.
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