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Social Security and the Equity Premium Puzzle

  • Olovsson, Conny


    (Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University)

This paper shows that social security may be an important factor in explaining the equity premium puzzle. In the absence of shortselling constraints, the young shortsell bonds to the middle-aged and buy equity. Social security reduces the bond demand of the middle-aged, thereby restricting the possibilities of the young to finance their equity purchases. They demand less equity and the return to equity goes up. Social security also increases the covariance between future consumption and the equity income of the young. The efect on the equity premium is substantial. In fact, a model with social security and borrowing constraints can generate a fairly realistic equity premium.

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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies in its series Seminar Papers with number 729.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 16 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iiessp:0729
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-162000
Fax: +46-8-161443
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  1. Kent A. Smetters, 2004. "Trading with the Unborn: A New Perspective on Capital Income Taxation," Working Papers wp066, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 2003. "The equity premium in retrospect," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 889-938 Elsevier.
  3. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1997. "Understanding Why High Income Households Save More Than Low Income Households," Working Papers 9701, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  4. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 151-64, June.
  5. Andrew B. Abel, 2002. "The Effects of a Baby Boom on Stock Prices and Capital Accumulation in the Presence of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 9210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Should the Social Security Trust Fund Hold Equities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 666-697, July.
  7. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  8. Baxter, M. & Jermann, U.J., 1993. "The International Diversification Puzzle is Worse than you Think," RCER Working Papers 350, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Constantinides, G.M. & Donalson, J.B. & Mehra, R., 1997. "Junior Can't Borrow: A New Perspective on the Equity Premium Puzzle," Papers 97-24, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  10. 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.
  11. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  12. David Domeij & Paul Klein, 2002. "Private Pensions: To What Extent Do They Account for Swedish Wealth Inequality?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 503-534, July.
  13. 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.
  14. John McHale, 1999. "The Risk of Social Security Benefit Rule Changes: Some International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
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