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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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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/p15442-2012-09-04.pdf
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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 35442.

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Date of creation: 04 Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:35442
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Galasso, Vincenzo & Gatti, Roberta & Profeta, Paola, 2008. "Investing for the old age : pensions, children and savings," Social Protection Discussion Papers 47101, The World Bank.
  2. Alessandro Cigno, 2005. "The Political Economy of Intergenerational Cooperation," CESifo Working Paper Series 1632, CESifo Group Munich.
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  5. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
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  8. Zeng, J & Jie Zhang, . "Optimal social security in a dynastic model with investment externalities and endogenous fertility," MRG Discussion Paper Series 1006, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  9. Galasso, Vincenzo & Profeta, Paola, 2011. "When the State Mirrors the Family: The Design of Pension Systems," CEPR Discussion Papers 8723, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  18. Mulligan Casey B & Sala-i-Martin Xavier, 2004. "Political and Economic Forces Sustaining Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-56, May.
  19. Yew, Siew Ling & Zhang, Jie, 2009. "Optimal social security in a dynastic model with human capital externalities, fertility and endogenous growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 605-619, April.
  20. Rosati, Furio Camillo, 1996. "Social security in a non-altruistic model with uncertainty and endogenous fertility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 283-294, May.
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