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Redistributive Effects of Different Pension Systems When Longevity Varies by Socioeconomic Status

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  • Miguel Sánchez-Romero
  • Ronald D. Lee
  • Alexia Prskawetz

Abstract

We propose a general analytical framework to model the redistributive features of alternative pension systems when individuals face ex ante differences in mortality. Differences in life expectancy between high and low socioeconomic groups are often large and have widened recently in many countries. Such longevity gaps affect the actuarial fairness and progressivity of public pension systems. However, behavioral responses to longevity and policy complicate analysis of possible reforms. Here we consider how various pension systems would perform in a general equilibrium OLG setting with heterogeneous longevity and ability. We evaluate redistributive effects of three Notional Defined Contribution plans and three Defined Benefit plans, calibrated on the US case. Compared to a benchmark non-redistributive plan that accounts for differences in mortality, US Social Security reduces regressivity from longevity differences, but would require group-specific life tables to achieve progressivity. Moreover, without separate life tables, despite apparent accounting gains, lower income groups would suffer welfare losses and higher income groups would enjoy welfare gains through indirect effects of pension systems on labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Miguel Sánchez-Romero & Ronald D. Lee & Alexia Prskawetz, 2019. "Redistributive Effects of Different Pension Systems When Longevity Varies by Socioeconomic Status," NBER Working Papers 25944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25944
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    Cited by:

    1. Bravo, Jorge M. & Ayuso, Mercedes & Holzmann, Robert & Palmer, Edward, 2021. "Addressing the life expectancy gap in pension policy," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 200-221.
    2. Tarmo Valkonen, 2020. "The Finnish Pension System and Its Future Challenges," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 55(2), pages 92-96, March.
    3. Jesús-Adrián Álvarez & Malene Kallestrup-Lamb & Søren Kjærgaard, 2020. "Linking retirement age to life expectancy does not lessen the demographic implications of unequal lifespans," CREATES Research Papers 2020-17, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    4. Sanchez-Romero, Miguel & Schuster, Philip & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2021. "Redistributive effects of pension reforms: Who are the winners and losers?," ECON WPS - Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 06/2021, TU Wien, Institute of Statistics and Mathematical Methods in Economics, Economics Research Unit.
    5. Miguel Sanchez-Romero & Alexia Prskawetz, 2020. "The Impact of Reducing the Pension Generosity on Inequality and Schooling," De Economist, Springer, vol. 168(2), pages 279-304, June.
    6. Bravo, Jorge M. & Nunes, João Pedro Vidal, 2021. "Pricing longevity derivatives via Fourier transforms," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 81-97.
    7. Alvarez, Jesús-Adrián & Kallestrup-Lamb, Malene & Kjærgaard, Søren, 2021. "Linking retirement age to life expectancy does not lessen the demographic implications of unequal lifespans," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 363-375.
    8. Volker Grossmann & Johannes Schünemann & Holger Strulik, 2021. "Fair Pension Policies with Occupation-Specific Aging," CESifo Working Paper Series 9180, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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