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Social Security Privatization with Elastic Labor Supply and Second-Best Taxes

  • Kent Smetters

    (The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania)

This paper shows that many common methods of privatizing social security fail to reduce labor market distortions when taxes are second best, challenging a key reason to privatize. Ironically, providing “transition relief” to workers alive at the time of the reform, in an effort to protect their previous contributions, undercuts potential efficiency gains. Chile’s reform -- the first major privatization that also served as a model for subsequent countries -- actually increased distortions. It is then shown that privatization with limited transition relief can reduce labor market distortions and produce gains to current and future generations without hurting initial retirees, i.e., a Pareto gain even with second-best taxes.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp092.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp092.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp092
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  1. Breyer, Friedrich & Straub, Martin, 1991. "Welfare effects of unfunded pension systems when labor supply is endogenous," Discussion Papers, Series I 252, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
  2. Peter Diamond & John Geanakoplos, 2003. "Social Security Investment in Equities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1047-1074, September.
  3. Peter A. Diamond, 1996. "Proposals to Restructure Social Security," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 67-88, Summer.
  4. 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.
  5. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 3962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert J. Shiller, 1998. "Social Security and Institutions for Intergenerational, Intragenerational, and International Risk Sharing," JCPR Working Papers 43, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. Bohn, Henning, 2009. "Intergenerational risk sharing and fiscal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 805-816, September.
  8. Abel, Andrew B, et al, 1989. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19, January.
  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, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," NBER Working Papers 5413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
  12. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Would Privatizing Social Security Raise Economic Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 5281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Laitner, John, 2000. " Social Security Reform and National Wealth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 349-71, June.
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