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Pension reform, assets returns and wealth distribution

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Abstract

In OLG framework, it is generally admitted that PAYG pension system generates a lower capital accumulation, a higher level of interest rate but is more inequality reducing. By taking into account different assets returns and unequal access to them, we find that the PAYG pension system generates lower level of interest rate and increases wealth inequality. By using Matsuyama's (2000) technology that generates dynamic endogenous inequality, we represent the bequest and saving behaviour of the agents in an OLG model. This allows us to characterize the optimal investment choice of agents across two assets as a function of their initial endowment and a unique inheritance threshold depending on the equilibrium interest rate. This inheritance threshold divides the population into two categories : the rich-borrowers and the poor-lenders. In this context, we find that, the effect of increasing the contribution rate to the pension system is to increase inequality. Indeed, it increases the number of constrained agents and decreases the equilibrium interest rate. More the initial wealth distribution is egalitarian, more these effects are amplified. As the interest rate is the lending rate of poor-constrained agents, they lose from the reform while unconstrained-rich agents benefit from the reform since the decrease of the interest rate increases the net return of their investment. Unconstrained-rich agents benefit from the reform at the expense of constrained-poor agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Falilou Fall, 2004. "Pension reform, assets returns and wealth distribution," Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques v04033, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:v04033
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    1. 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.
    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. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Newman, Andrew F, 1993. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 274-298, April.
    4. Hairault, Jean-Olivier & Langot, Francois, 2008. "Inequality and social security reforms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 386-410, February.
    5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    6. Dirk Krueger & Felix Kubler, 2006. "Pareto-Improving Social Security Reform when Financial Markets are Incomplete!?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 737-755.
    7. Luisa Fuster, 1999. "Is Altruism Important for Understanding the Long-Run Effects of Social Security?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 616-637, July.
    8. Angus S. Deaton & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Social Security and Inequality over the Life Cycle," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 115-148 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Luis Cubeddu, 2000. "Intragenerational Redistribution in Unfunded Pension Systems," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 47(1), pages 1-4.
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    Keywords

    Pension reform; inequality; incomplete markets; savings; wealth distribution.;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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