IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedmem/136.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Time inconsistent preferences and Social Security

Author

Listed:
  • Ayse Imrohoroglu
  • Selahattin Imrohoroglu
  • Douglas H. Joines

Abstract

In this paper we examine the role of social security in an economy populated by overlapping generations of individuals with time-inconsistent preferences who face mortality risk, individual income risk, and borrowing constraints. Agents in this economy are heterogeneous with respect to age, employment status, retirement status, hours worked, and asset holdings. We consider two cases of time-inconsistent preferences. First, we model agents as quasi-hyperbolic discounters. They can be sophisticated and play a symmetric Nash game against their future selves; or they can be naive and believe that their future selves will exponentially discount. Second, we consider retrospective time inconsistency. We find that (1) there are substantial welfare costs to quasi-hyperbolic discounters of their time-inconsistent behavior, (2) social security is a poor substitute for a perfect commitment technology in maintaining old-age consumption, (3) there is little scope for social security in a world of quasi-hyperbolic discounters (with a short-term discount rate up to 15%), and, (4) the ex ante annual discount rate must be at least 10% greater than seems warranted ex post in order for a majority of individuals with retrospective time inconsistency to prefer a social security tax rate of 10% to no social security. Our findings question the effectiveness of unfunded social security in correcting for the undersaving resulting from time-inconsistent preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 2000. "Time inconsistent preferences and Social Security," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 136, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:136
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://minneapolisfed.org/research/common/pub_detail.cfm?pb_autonum_id=824
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://minneapolisfed.org/research/DP/DP136.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith, Jr., 2003. "Consumption--Savings Decisions with Quasi--Geometric Discounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 365-375, January.
    2. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    3. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-788, September.
    4. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Douglas H. Joines, 1999. "Social Security in an Overlapping Generations Economy with Land," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 638-665, July.
    5. Hansen, G D, 1993. "The Cyclical and Secular Behaviour of the Labour Input: Comparing Efficiency Units and Hours Worked," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(1), pages 71-80, Jan.-Marc.
    6. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 1998. "A Quantitative Analysis of Capital Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 307-328, May.
    7. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    8. Cooley, Thomas F. & Soares, Jorge, 1996. "Will social security survive the baby boom?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 89-121, December.
    9. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    10. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
    11. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1984. "Consumption during Retirement: The Missing Link in the Life Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, February.
    12. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 2001. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth among U.S. Households?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 832-857, September.
    13. Goldman, Steven Marc, 1979. "Intertemporally Inconsistent Preferences and the Rate of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 621-626, May.
    14. Martin S. Feldstein & Daniel R. Feenberg, 1983. "Alternative Tax Rules and Personal Saving Incentives: Microeconomic Data and Behavioral Simulations," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 173-210 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Gordon, Roger H. & Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Intergenerational risk sharing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 185-202, November.
    16. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2004. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 119-158, January.
    17. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
    18. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia & Summers, Lawrence H, 1982. "The Adequacy of Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1056-1069, December.
    19. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 261-269, June.
    20. Diamond, P., 1994. "Insulations of pensions from Political Risk," Working papers 94-20, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    21. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark J. Warshawsky, 1990. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-154.
    22. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1999. "Projected U.S. Demographics and Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 575-615, July.
    23. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2004. "The Social Discount Rate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1257-1268, December.
    24. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
    25. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
    26. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
    27. Steven M. Goldman, 1980. "Consistent Plans," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 533-537.
    28. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
    29. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
    31. HUANG, HE & IMROHOROG[caron]LU, SELAHATTIN & SARGENT, THOMAS J., 1997. "Two Computations To Fund Social Security," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 7-44, January.
    32. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    33. David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    34. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1999. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 498-531, July.
    35. 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.
    36. Peter A. Diamond, 1996. "Proposals to Restructure Social Security," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 67-88, Summer.
    37. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social security;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:136. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Janelle Ruswick). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbmnus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.