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Savings Accounts and the Life-Cycle Approach to Social Insurance

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Birch Sørensen

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

  • Martin Ino Hansen

    (Statistics Denmark)

  • A. Lans Bovenberg

    (Tilburg University)

Abstract

Using Danish data, we find that about three fourths of the taxes levied to finance public transfers actually finance benefits that do not redistribute between people but redistribute income over the life cycle of individual taxpayers. This provides a rationale for financing part of social insurance via mandatory individual savings accounts. An account system that offers liquidity insurance and a lifetime income guarantee helps to alleviate the dilemma between insurance and incentives. To illustrate this, we analyse a specific proposal for reform of the Danish system of social insurance, involving the use of individual accounts. We estimate how the reform would affect the distribution of lifetime incomes, the public budget, and economic efficiency. Our analysis suggests that, even with conservative assumptions regarding labor supply elasticities, the proposed reform would generate a Pareto improvement and would imply only a minor increase in the inequality of lifetime income distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Birch Sørensen & Martin Ino Hansen & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2006. "Savings Accounts and the Life-Cycle Approach to Social Insurance," EPRU Working Paper Series 06-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:06-03
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    File URL: http://www.econ.ku.dk/eprn_epru/Workings_Papers/wp-06-03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stiglitz, Joseph E. & Yun, Jungyoll, 2005. "Integration of unemployment insurance with retirement insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2037-2067, December.
    2. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 11-48 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Anders Frederiksen & Ebbe Krogh Graversen & Nina Smith, 2008. "Overtime work, dual job holding, and taxation," Research in Labor Economics,in: Work, Earnings and Other Aspects of the Employment Relation, volume 28, pages 25-55 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    4. Coronado Julia Lynn & Fullerton Don & Glass Thomas, 2011. "The Progressivity of Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, November.
    5. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2001. "How effective is redistribution under the social security benefit formula?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-28, October.
    6. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Welfare reform in European countries: a microsimulation analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 1-44, January.
    7. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, February.
    8. Martin Feldstein & Daniel Altman, 2007. "Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 21, pages 35-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nelissen, Jan H. M., 1998. "Annual versus lifetime income redistribution by social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 223-249, May.
    10. Orszag, Mike & Snower, Dennis J., 1997. "Expanding the Welfare System: A Proposal for Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 1674, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. A. Lans Bovenberg & Peter Birch Sørensen, 2004. "Improving the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off: Mandatory Savings Accounts for Social Insurance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(4), pages 507-529, August.
    12. A. Bovenberg, 2005. "Balancing Work and Family Life during the Life Course," De Economist, Springer, vol. 153(4), pages 399-423, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social insurance; individual accounts; lifetime income distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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