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Why Funding Is not a Solution to the "Social Security Crisis"

  • Friedrich Breyer

Es ist heute unbestritten, dass die umlagefinanzierten staatlichen Rentensysteme in den meisten OECD.Ländern in den kommenden Jahrzehnten wegen der dramatisch steigenden Alterslastquote schwerwiegende finanzielle Probleme bekommen werden. Dennoch gibt es eine intensive Debatte über die angemessene Therapie. Gerade in den letzten Jahren haben Vorschläge zugenommen, die auf einen (teilweisen) Übergang zur Kapitaldeckung hinauslaufen. Da ein solcher Übergang bekanntlich keine Pareto-Verbesserung bewirkt, muss man fragen, durch welche Zielsetzungen er gerechtfertigt werden könnte. Die vorliegende Arbeit geht dieser Frage nach und identifiziert sieben Trugschlüsse, die von Anhängern eines solchen Übergangs häufig begangen werden. It is now a commonplace that the unfunded public pension systems of many OECD countries will run into severe financing problems in the coming decades due to a dramatically increasing pensioner/worker ratio. While this diagnosis is completely undisputed, there is still a vigorous debate on the appropriate therapy. In this debate, a number of proposals have been brought forward in particular in the last five years, which mainly consist in a (partial) transition to a funded pension system. Because such a transition is not a Pareto improvement, it is necessary to ask what can be the policy target that justifies such a redistributive move? The present paper tries to examine this question by identifying seven fallacies that are commonly made by advocates of such a transition.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 254.

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Length: 8 p.
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp254
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  1. Homburg, Stefan, 2014. "Old Age Pension Systems: A Theoretical Evaluation," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-524, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  2. Martin Feldstein, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 5413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Breyer, Friedrich & von der Schulenburg, J-Matthias Graf, 1990. " Family Ties and Social Security in a Democracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 155-67, November.
  4. Brunner, Johann K., 1996. "Transition from a pay-as-you-go to a fully funded pension system: The case of differing individuals and intragenerational fairness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 131-146, April.
  5. Homburg, Stefan, 2000. "Compulsory savings in the welfare state," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 233-239, August.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1998. "The Transition Path in Privatizing Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 215-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mathias Kifman & Dirk Schindler, 2000. "Smoothing the Implicit Tax Rate in a Pay-as-you-go Pension System," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(3), pages 261-, May.
  8. Breyer, Friedrich & Graf v d Schulenburg, J-Matthias, 1987. "Voting on Social Security: The Family as Decision-Making Unit," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 529-47.
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