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Why Funding is not a Solution to the "Social Security Crisis"

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  • Breyer, Friedrich

    () (University of Konstanz)

Abstract

It is now a commonplace that the unfunded public pension systems of many OECD countries will run into severe financing problems in the coming decades due to a dramatically increasing pensioner/worker ratio. While this diagnosis is completely undisputed, there is still a vigorous debate on the appropriate therapy. In this debate, a number of proposals have been brought forward in particular in the last five years, which mainly consist in a (partial) transition to a funded pension system. Because such a transition is not a Pareto improvement, it is necessary to ask what can be the policy target that justifies such a redistributive move? The present paper tries to examine this question by identifying seven fallacies that are commonly made by advocates of such a transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Breyer, Friedrich, 2001. "Why Funding is not a Solution to the "Social Security Crisis"," IZA Discussion Papers 328, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp328
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 1-14, May.
    2. Brunner, Johann K., 1996. "Transition from a pay-as-you-go to a fully funded pension system: The case of differing individuals and intragenerational fairness," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 131-146, April.
    3. Homburg, Stefan, 1997. "Old-age Pension Systems: A Theoretical Evaluation," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 233-246.
    4. Breyer, Friedrich & von der Schulenburg, J-Matthias Graf, 1990. "Family Ties and Social Security in a Democracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 155-167, November.
    5. 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.
    6. Mathias Kifman & Dirk Schindler, 2000. "Smoothing the Implicit Tax Rate in a Pay-as-you-go Pension System," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 57(3), pages 261-261, May.
    7. Homburg, Stefan, 2000. "Compulsory savings in the welfare state," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 233-239, August.
    8. Breyer, Friedrich & Graf v d Schulenburg, J-Matthias, 1987. "Voting on Social Security: The Family as Decision-Making Unit," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 529-547.
    9. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1998. "The Transition Path in Privatizing Social Security," NBER Chapters,in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 215-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Breyer, Friedrich & Kifmann, Mathias, 2002. "Incentives to retire later a solution to the social security crisis?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 111-130, July.
    2. Robert Stelter, 2016. "Fertility and health insurance types in Germany," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2016021, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    3. Corneo, Giacomo & Keese, Matthias & Schröder, Carsten, 2008. "Can governments boost voluntary retirement savings via tax incentives and subsidies? A German case study for low-income households," Economics Working Papers 2008-18, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    4. Oksanen, Heikki, 2003. "A nyugdíjreformtervek a jóléti államokban - öregedő népesség esetén
      [Pension-reform blueprints for welfare states under ageing populations]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 654-670.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pareto improvement; transition to funding; Social security; policy proposals;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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