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The Political-Economy Positive Role of the Social Security System in Sustaining Immigration (But Not Vice Versa)

Listed author(s):
  • Edith Sand
  • Assaf Razin

In the political-economy debate people express the idea that immigrants are good because they can help pay for the old, thus help sustaining the social security system. In addition, the median voter whose income derives from wages will wish to keep out the immigrants who will depress his/her wage. Therefore the decisive voter will keep migrants out. The paper addresses these two accepted propositions. For this purpose we develop an OLG political economy model of social security and migration to explore how migration policy and a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) social security system are jointly determined. The sub-game perfect Markov , depends on the different patterns of fertility rates among native born and migrants. Our analysis demonstrates that a social security system may change the first proposition significantly because the median voter may opt to bring in migrants to help him/her during retirement. As for the second proposition we get a significantly nuanced version. Not always immigration helps sustain the social security.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13598.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13598.

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Date of creation: Nov 2007
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13598
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  1. Casey B Mulligan, 1999. "Gerontocracy, Retirement, and Social Security," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 154, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  2. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 2000. " Unskilled Migration: A Burden or a Boon for the Welfare State?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 463-479, June.
  3. John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "The Survival of the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 87-112, March.
  4. Kjetil Storesletten, 2000. "Sustaining Fiscal Policy through Immigration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 300-323, April.
  5. Phillip L Swagel & Efraim Sadka & Assaf Razin, 2002. "The Aging of the Population and the Size of the Welfare State," IMF Working Papers 02/68, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Tabellini, Guido, 2000. " A Positive Theory of Social Security," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(3), pages 523-545, June.
  7. Harrie Verbon & Marijn Verhoeven, 1992. "Decision making on pension schemes under rational expectations," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 71-97, February.
  8. Breyer, Friedrich & Craig, Ben, 1997. "Voting on social security: Evidence from OECD countries," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 705-724, December.
  9. Per Krusell & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1996. "Vested Interests in a Positive Theory of Stagnation and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 301-329.
  10. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka & Phillip Swagel, 2002. "The Aging Population and the Size of the Welfare State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 900-918, August.
  11. Thomas F. Cooley & Jorge Soares, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Social Security Based on Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 135-160, February.
  12. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim & Swagel, Phillip, 2002. "Tax burden and migration: a political economy theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 167-190, August.
  13. Ortega, Francesc, 2005. "Immigration quotas and skill upgrading," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1841-1863, September.
  14. Hansson, Ingemar & Stuart, Charles, 1989. "Social Security as Trade among Living Generations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1182-1195, December.
  15. Bohn, Henning, 1999. "Will social security and Medicare remain viable as the U.S. population is aging?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-53, June.
  16. Martin S. Feldstein, 2006. "The Effects of the Ageing European Population on Economic Growth and Budgets: Implications for Immigration and Other Policies," NBER Working Papers 12736, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Assaf Razin & Efraim Sadka, 2004. "Welfare Migration: Is the Net Fiscal Burden a Good Measure of its Economic Impact on the Welfare of the Native-Born Population?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(4), pages 709-716.
  18. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
  19. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Jim Dolmas & Gregory W. Huffman, 2004. "On The Political Economy Of Immigration And Income Redistribution," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(4), pages 1129-1168, November.
  21. Galasso, Vincenzo & Profeta, Paola, 2002. "The political economy of social security: a survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-29, March.
  22. Lorenzo Forni, 2005. "Social Security as Markov Equilibrium in OLG Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(1), pages 178-194, January.
  23. Benhabib, Jess, 1996. "On the political economy of immigration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1737-1743, December.
  24. Michele Boldrin & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Political Equilibria with Social Security," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(1), pages 41-78, January.
  25. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
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