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Some Inefficiency Implication of Generational Politics and Exchange

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  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • Robert W. Rosenthal

Abstract

Generational selfishness is a central assumption in the vast literature on the life cycle model. Much of this literature deals with the impact of alternative government policies in light of self-interested generational behavior. Surprisingly, the choices of governments in virtually all of these analyses are assumed to be independent of the preferences of the selfish generations these governments presumably represent. We address this anomaly by modeling each generation as having a government that strictly represents the economy along a number of dimensions. We consider two types of inefficiencies that have received little or no attention in the literature. The first is the monopolization of factor supplies, and the second is the under- or overprovision of durable public goods. We demonstrate that selfish generations may place sizable marginal taxes on their factor supplies in order to monopolize their factor markets. We also show that selfish generations will provide inefficient levels of durable public goods both at the local and national levels. Finally, we demonstrate that generational inefficiencies can arise even in models of cooperative bargaining because of the first-mover advantage of earlier generations.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1990. "Some Inefficiency Implication of Generational Politics and Exchange," NBER Working Papers 3354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3354
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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
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    5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1982. "The Theory of Local Public Goods Twenty-Five Years After Tiebout: A Perspective," NBER Working Papers 0954, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Efraim Sadka, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(2), pages 261-267.
    7. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Persson, Torsten & Svensson, Lars E O, 1988. "Social Contracts as Assets: A Possible Solution to the Time-Consistency Problem," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 662-677, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martín Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2016. "Fiscal Federalism, Taxation and Grants," Working Papers 16.05, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
    2. Antonio Rangel, 2005. "How to Protect Future Generations Using Tax-Base Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 314-346, March.
    3. M. Magnani, 2005. "Labour market regulation and retirement age," Economics Department Working Papers 2005-EP02, Department of Economics, Parma University (Italy).
    4. Martin Gonzalez Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," Working Papers 72, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jun 2004.
    5. Cellarier, Laurent L., 2013. "A family production overlapping generations economy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 2168-2179.
    6. Antonio Rangel, 1999. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: A Theory of Intergenerational Exchange," Working Papers 00001, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    7. Glazer, Amihai & Kanniainen, Vesa & Niskanen, Esko, 2003. "Bequests, control rights, and cost-benefit analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 71-82, March.
    8. Jäger, Philipp & Schmidt, Torsten, 2016. "The political economy of public investment when population is aging: A panel cointegration analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 145-158.
    9. John P. Conley & Robert Driskill & Ping Wang, 2017. "Capitalization, Decentralization, and Intergenerational Spillovers in a Tiebout Economy with a Durable Public Good," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 17-00003, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    10. Antonio Rangel, 2002. "How to Protect Future Generations Using Tax Base Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 9179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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