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Social Security Systems, Human Capital, and Growth in a Small Open Economy

  • Kaganovich, Michael
  • Meier, Volker

We consider a small open economy in which the level of public education funding is determined by popular vote. We show that growth can be enhanced by the introduction of pay-as-you-go pensions even if the growth rate of aggregate wages falls short of the interest rate. The reason is that the pay-as-you-go (PAYG) system allows future retirees to partially internalize positive externalities of public education due to the positive effect of higher future labor productivity on their pension benefits. The majority support for education funding will be especially strong when the PAYG benefit formula is flat, i.e., progressively redistributive. If a flat benefit PAYG pension system is in place then the economy will achieve the highest growth rate relative to the alternative pension system designs. While such PAYG pension system may be opposed by the majority of working individuals due to inferior returns to their pension contributions relative to a funded scheme, it is likely to be politically sustained by a coalition of older individuals and lower income workers.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19536.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economic Theory 4 14(2012): pp. 573-600
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19536
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  1. Glomm, Gerhard & Kaganovich, Michael, 2008. "Social security, public education and the growth-inequality relationship," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(6), pages 1009-1034, August.
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  9. Adema, Y. & Meijdam, A.C. & Verbon, H.A.A., 2006. "Beggar Thy Thrifty Neighbour : The International Spillover Effects of Pensions Under Population Ageing," Discussion Paper 2006-47, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  14. Michele Boldrin, 2005. "Public Education and Capital Accumulation," Levine's Bibliography 172782000000000090, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Gradstein, Mark & Kaganovich, Michael, 2004. "Aging population and education finance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2469-2485, December.
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  27. repec:wop:bodewp:218 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Antonio Rangel, 2003. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: Why Is Social Security Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 813-834, June.
  29. Konrad, Kai A, 1995. "Social Security and Strategic Inter-vivos Transfers of Social Capital," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 315-26, August.
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  31. Kaganovich, Michael & Zilcha, Itzhak, 2012. "Pay-as-you-go or funded social security? A general equilibrium comparison," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 455-467.
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