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Quantifying the Inefficiency of the US Social Insurance System

How far is the US social insurance system from an efficient system? We answer this question within a model where agents receive idiosyncratic, labor-productivity shocks that are privately observed. When social security and income taxation comprise the social insurance system, the maximum possible efficiency gain is equivalent to a 10:5 percent increase in consumption. This occurs when labor productivity diferences are set to the permanent diferences estimated in US data.

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Paper provided by Georgetown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number gueconwpa~05-05-16.

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Date of creation: 16 May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:geo:guwopa:gueconwpa~05-05-16
Contact details of provider: Postal: Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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Fax: 202-687-6102
Web page: http://econ.georgetown.edu/
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Order Information: Postal: Roger Lagunoff Professor of Economics Georgetown University Department of Economics Washington, DC 20057-1036
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  1. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1998. "On the Distributional Effects of Social Security Reform," Working Papers 9801, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
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  5. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Does Social Security Privatization Produce Efficiency Gains?," Working Papers wp106, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  6. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2002. "Optimal Indirect and Capital Taxation," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 391749000000000449, www.najecon.org.
  7. Greg Kaplan, 2007. "Inequality and the Lifecycle," 2007 Meeting Papers 262, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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.
  9. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L, 2004. "Two Views of Inequality Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 4728, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Stephen D., 2002. "Moral Hazard, Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Experience Rating," Staff General Research Papers 10133, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  11. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
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  13. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 3962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jonathan Heathcote, 2003. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-19, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  15. Mirrlees, J. A., 1995. "Private risk and public action: The economics of the welfare state," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 383-397, April.
  16. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
  17. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  18. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  19. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
  20. Fernandes, Ana & Phelan, Christopher, 2000. "A Recursive Formulation for Repeated Agency with History Dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 223-247, April.
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  23. William Vickrey, 1939. "Averaging of Income for Income-Tax Purposes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47, pages 379.
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