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Why a Funded Pension System is Useful and Why It is Not Useful

  • Sinn, Hans-Werner

Based on explicit present value calculations, the paper criticizes the view that the PAYGO system wastes economic resources. In present value terms, there is nothing to be gained from a transition to a funded system even though the latter offers a permanently higher rate of return. The sum of the implicit and explicit tax burdens that result from the need to respect the existing pension claims is the same under all systems and transition strategies. Nevertheless a partial transition to a funded system may be a way to overcome the current demographic crisis because it replaces missing human capital with real capital and helps smooth tax and child rearing costs across the generations.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19859.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Tax and Public Finance 4-5 7(2000): pp. 389-410
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19859
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  1. Homburg, Stefan, 1990. "The Efficiency of Unfunded Pension Schemes," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 640-647.
  2. Konrad Kai A. & Olsen Trond E. & Schob Ronnie, 1994. "Resource Extraction and the Threat of Possible Expropriation: The Role of Swiss Bank Accounts," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 149-162, March.
  3. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  4. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
  5. Matthias Wrede, 1999. "Pareto Efficient Pay-as-You-Go Pension Systems with Multi-Period Lives," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 219(3+4), pages 494-503, September.
  6. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1998. "The Pay-As You-Go Pension System as a Fertility Insurance and Enforcement Device," CEPR Discussion Papers 2023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1997. "The Value of Children and Immigrants in a Pay-As-You-Go Pension System: A Proposal For a Partial Transition to a Funded System," CEPR Discussion Papers 1734, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Friedrich Schneider & Dominik Enste, 2000. "Shadow Economies Around the World; Size, Causes, and Consequences," IMF Working Papers 00/26, International Monetary Fund.
  9. 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.
  10. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • 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.
  11. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1996. "Simulating the Privatization of Social Security in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 5776, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Homburg, Stefan & Richter, Wolfram, 1990. "Eine effizienzorientierte Reform der GRV," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 183-191..
  13. Marcel Thum & Jakob von Weisäcker, 2000. "Implizite Einkommensteuer als Messlatte für die aktuellen Rentenreformvorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(4), pages 453-468, November.
  14. Corneo, Giacomo & Jeanne, Olivier, 1997. "On relative wealth effects and the optimality of growth," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 87-92, January.
  15. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1997. "The Economics of Prefunding Social Security and Medicare Benefits," NBER Working Papers 6055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Would Privatizing Social Security Raise Economic Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 5281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Robert Fenge & Jakob von Weizsäcker, 1999. "To what Extent are Public Pensions Pareto-improving? On the Interaction of Means Tested Basic Income and Public Pensions," CESifo Working Paper Series 197, CESifo Group Munich.
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