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Policy Uncertainty and the Cost of Delaying Reform: A case of aging Japan

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  • KITAO Sagiri

Abstract

In an economy with aging demographics and a generous pay-as-you-go social security system established decades ago, reform to reduce benefits is inevitable unless there is a major increase in taxes. Often times, however, there is uncertainty about the timing and structure of reform. This paper explicitly models policy uncertainty associated with a social security system in an aging economy and quantifies economic and welfare effects of uncertainty as well as costs of delaying reform. Using the case of Japan, which faces the severest demographic and fiscal challenges, we show that uncertainty can significantly affect economic activities and welfare. Delaying reform or reducing its scope involves a sizeable welfare tradeoff across generations, in which middle to old-aged individuals gain the most at the cost of young and future generations.

Suggested Citation

  • KITAO Sagiri, 2016. "Policy Uncertainty and the Cost of Delaying Reform: A case of aging Japan," Discussion papers 16013, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  • Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:16013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Policy Uncertainty and the Cost of Delaying Reform: A case of aging Japan
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2016-02-25 21:03:19

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    Cited by:

    1. Heer, Burkhard & Polito, Vito & Wickens, Michael R., 2020. "Population aging, social security and fiscal limits," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    2. Schön, Matthias, 2020. "Demographic change and the rate of return in PAYG pension systems," Discussion Papers 57/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    3. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2017. "Impact of Policy Uncertainty on Consumption and Saving Behavior: Evidence from a survey on consumers," Discussion papers 17075, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Zhang, Yongsheng & Yao, Enjian & Zhang, Rui & Xu, Hao, 2019. "Analysis of elderly people's travel behaviours during the morning peak hours in the context of the free bus programme in Beijing, China," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 191-199.
    5. Sagiri Kitao, 2017. "When do we Start? Pension reform in ageing Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 68(1), pages 26-47, March.
    6. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2016. "How Uncertain Are Economic Policies? Evidence from a survey on Japanese firms," Policy Discussion Papers 16008, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Erin Cottle Hunt, 2021. "Adaptive Learning, Social Security Reform, and Policy Uncertainty," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 53(4), pages 677-714, June.
    8. Morikawa, Masayuki, 2016. "How uncertain are economic policies? New evidence from a firm survey," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 114-122.
    9. Keisuke Otsu & Katsuyuki Shibayama, 2018. "Population Aging, Government Policy and the Postwar Japanese Economy," Studies in Economics 1809, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    10. Schön, Matthias, 2019. "Demographic change and the German current account surplus," VfS Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203527, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Paul Ho, 2020. "Estimating the Effects of Demographics on Interest Rates: A Robust Bayesian Perspective," Working Paper 20-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    12. Jouchi Nakajima, 2018. "The role of household debt heterogeneity on consumption: Evidence from Japanese household data," BIS Working Papers 736, Bank for International Settlements.
    13. Nakajima, Jouchi, 2020. "The role of household debt heterogeneity on consumption: Evidence from Japanese household data," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 186-197.
    14. Caliendo, Frank N. & Gorry, Aspen & Slavov, Sita, 2020. "Survival ambiguity and welfare," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 20-42.
    15. Schön, Matthias, 2020. "Long-term outlook for the German statutory pension system," Discussion Papers 22/2020, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    16. Caliendo, Frank N. & Gorry, Aspen & Slavov, Sita, 2019. "The cost of uncertainty about the timing of Social Security reform," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 101-125.
    17. Michuda, Aleksandr, 2018. "Political Contributions and Land Reform Delay: The Case of South Africa," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274365, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    18. Kazuki Hiraga & Kengo Nutahara, 2019. "Fragility in modeling consumption tax revenue," CIGS Working Paper Series 19-003E, The Canon Institute for Global Studies.
    19. Erin Cottle Hunt & Frank N. Caliendo, 2020. "Social Security reform: three Rawlsian options," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(6), pages 1582-1607, December.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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