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Government mandated private pensions: a dependable foundation for retirement security?

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  • Rowena A. Pecchenino
  • Patricia S. Pollard

Abstract

We develop a model of an overlapping generations economy characterized by private pensions where risk averse agents face both longevity and investment risks. The government mitigates the effects of longevity risk by mandating that individuals purchase annuities. Investment risk arises since the returns on annuities deviate randomly from actuarial fairness as a result of differences in the costs of administering pension funds. Thus, identical agents' pensions may yield drastically different returns: the government's pension policy is not horizontally equitable. We examine whether policies exist that can achieve horizontal equity, and discuss the costs and benefits of implementing these policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Rowena A. Pecchenino & Patricia S. Pollard, 2001. "Government mandated private pensions: a dependable foundation for retirement security?," Working Papers 1999-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1999-012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Monika Queisser, 1999. "Pension Reform: Lessons from Latin America," OECD Development Centre Policy Briefs 15, OECD Publishing.
    2. Olivia S. Mitchell, "undated". "Evaluating Administrative Costs in Mexico's AFORES Pension System," Pension Research Council Working Papers 99-1, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Antonio Rangel & Richard Zeckhauser, 2001. "Can Market and Voting Institutions Generate Optimal Intergenerational Risk Sharing?," NBER Chapters,in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 113-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 893-908.
    5. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Menchik, Paul L, 1987. "Planned and Unplanned Bequests," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(1), pages 55-66, January.
    6. Amy Finkelstein & James Poterba, 1999. "Selection Effects in the Market for Individual Annuities: New Evidence from the United Kingdom," NBER Working Papers 7168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Auerbach, A.J. & Kotlikoff, L.J. & Weil, D.N., 1992. "The Increasing Annuitization of the Elderly - Estimates and Implications for Intergenerational Transfers, Inequality and National Saving," Papers 6, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    8. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
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    10. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1177-1198, December.
    11. Shah, Hemant, 1997. "Toward better regulation of private pension funds," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1791, The World Bank.
    12. Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
    13. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social security ; Pensions ; Retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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