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Structural Reform of Social Security

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  • Martin Feldstein

Abstract

Governments around the world have enacted or are currently considering fundamental structural reforms of their Social Security pension programs. The key feature in these reforms is a shift from a pure pay-as-you-go tax-financed system, in which taxes on current workers are primarily distributed to current retirees, to a mixed system that combines pay-as-you-go benefits with investment-based personal retirement accounts. This paper discusses how such a mixed system could work in practice and how the transition to such a change could be achieved. It then analyzes the economic gains that would result from shifting to a mixed system. I turn next to the three problems that critics raise about any investment-based plan: administrative costs, risk, and income distribution. Finally, I comment on some of the ad hoc proposals for dealing with the financial problem of Social Security without shifting to an investment-based system.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein, 2005. "Structural Reform of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 11098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11098
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    1. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B. (ed.), 2002. "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226241067.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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