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

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  • Kent Smetters

Abstract

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 other countries -- actually increased labor market 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kent Smetters, 2005. "Social Security Privatization with Elastic Labor Supply and Second-Best Taxes," NBER Working Papers 11101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11101
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "The Missing Piece in Policy Analysis: Social Security Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 1-14, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Andrew B. Abel & N. Gregory Mankiw & Lawrence H. Summers & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 1989. "Assessing Dynamic Efficiency: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-19.
    4. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Would Privatizing Social Security Raise Economic Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 5281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Shiller, Robert J., 1999. "Social security and institutions for intergenerational, intragenerational, and international risk-sharing," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 165-204, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Breyer, Friedrich & Straub, Martin, 1993. "Welfare effects of unfunded pension systems when labor supply is endogenous," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 77-91, January.
    8. Laitner, John, 2000. " Social Security Reform and National Wealth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 349-371, June.
    9. Feldstein, Martin & Samwick, Andrew A., 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, March.
    10. Peter A. Diamond, 1996. "Proposals to Restructure Social Security," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 67-88, Summer.
    11. Bohn, Henning, 2009. "Intergenerational risk sharing and fiscal policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 805-816, September.
    12. Peter Diamond & John Geanakoplos, 2003. "Social Security Investment in Equities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1047-1074, September.
    13. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Holzmann & Richard Hinz, 2005. "Old Age Income Support in the 21st century: An International Perspective on Pension Systems and Reform," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7336, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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