IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/mrr/papers/wp217.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Marking Social Security’s Open Group Liability to Market

Author

Listed:
  • Paul A. Koehler

    (Boston University)

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

    (Boston University)

Abstract

This paper marks Social Security’s open group liability to market taking into account the riskiness of its aggregate benefit payments and tax receipts. The open group liability references the present value of the system’s net cash flow from now through the indefinite future. We treat the growth rates of the system’s aggregate benefits and taxes as implicit securities that are spanned by the returns on marketed securities. Our pricing of Social Security’s infinite horizon net liability builds on prior independent work by Blocker, Kotlikoff, and Ross (2009) and Geanakoplos and Zeldes (2009). Our results, which we view as preliminary, suggest that the market value of Social Security’s open group liability may be many times larger than the $15.1 trillion stated in the Trustees’ Report. Unlike Blocker, Kotlikoff, and Ross (2009), this discrepancy between our financial valuation and Social Security’s does not reflect differences in the value assumed for the safe rate of return. To control for this factor, we simply follow Social Security (and Geanakoplos, et. al., 2009) in assuming a 2.9 percent safe real rate of discount. We also find that the precise marketed assets used to price future Social Security benefits and taxes can significantly alter the estimate of the open group liability.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul A. Koehler & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2009. "Marking Social Security’s Open Group Liability to Market," Working Papers wp217, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp217
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp217.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp217. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (MRRC Administrator). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/isumius.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.