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Private versus public old-age security

  • Barnett, Richard C.
  • Bhattacharya, Joydeep
  • Puhakka, Mikko

We compare two institutions head on, a family compact – a parent makes a transfer to her parent in anticipation of a possible future gift from her children – with a pay-as-you-go, social security system in a lifecycle model with endogenous fertility wherein children are valued both as consumption and investment goods. Our focus is strictly on the pension dimension of these competing institutions. We show that an optimally-chosen family compact and a social security system cannot co-exist; indeed, the former may be preferred. A strong-enough negative shock to middle-age incomes destroys family compacts. While such a setting might appear ideal for the introduction of a social security system – as the experience of Europe, circa 1880s, would suggest – this turns out not to be the case: if incomes are too depressed to allow family compacts to flourish, they are also too low to permit introduction of an optimal social security system.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers Archive with number 35442.

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Date of creation: 04 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:35442
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Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070

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