IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/5087.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Generational Accounts, Aggregate Saving and Intergenerational Distribution

Author

Listed:
  • Willem H. Buiter

Abstract

Are generational accounts informative about the effect of the budget on the intergenerational distribution of resources and (when augmented with generation-specific propensities to consume out of life-time resources) on aggregate consumption and saving? The paper makes three points. First, the usefulness of generational accounts lives or dies with the strict life-cycle model of household consumption. Voluntary intergenerational gifts or liquidity constraints may therefore adversely affect or even destroy their informativeness. Second, even when the life-cycle model holds, generational accounts only measure the effect of the budget on the lifetime consumption of private goods and services. They ignore the intergenerational (re-)distribution associated with the government's provision of public goods and services. Third, generational accounting ignores the effect of the budget on before-tax and before-transfer quantities and prices, including before-tax and -transfer distribution of life-time resources across generations and intertemporal relative prices. That is, it does not handle incidence or general equilibrium repercussions very well. Although useful, generational accounts should therefore carry the label 'handle with great care.'

Suggested Citation

  • Willem H. Buiter, 1995. "Generational Accounts, Aggregate Saving and Intergenerational Distribution," NBER Working Papers 5087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5087
    Note: PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w5087.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Auerbach, Alan J & Gokhale, Jagadeesh & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. " Generational Accounting: A New Approach to Understanding the Effects of Fiscal Policy on Saving," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(2), pages 303-318.
    2. Yotsuzuka, Toshiki, 1987. "Ricardian equivalence in the presence of capital market imperfections," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 411-436, September.
    3. Jonathan Eaton & Mark Gersovitz, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309.
    4. Willem H. Buiter, 1990. "Principles of Budgetary and Financial Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524139, December.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1994. "Generational Accounting: A Meaningful Way to Evaluate Fiscal Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 73-94, Winter.
    6. Willem H. Buiter & K.M. Kletzer, 1994. "Ponzi Finance, Government Solvency and the Redundancy or Usefulness of Public Debt," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1070, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    7. Regina Villela Malvar & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Generational Accounting in Brazil," NBER Chapters, in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 177-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "From Deficit Delusion to the Fiscal Balance Rule: Looking for an Economically Meaningful Way to Assess Fiscal Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 9-30, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "Tests for Liquidity Constraints: A Critical Survey," NBER Working Papers 1720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Richard A. Musgrave & Karl E. Case & Herman Leonard, 1974. "The Distribution of Fiscal Burdens and Benefits," Public Finance Review, , vol. 2(3), pages 259-311, July.
    11. Eric O'N. Fisher & YoungSoo Woo, 1994. "A New Meaure of the Korean Current Account," International Finance 9411001, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Otto Gandenberger, 2000. "Is the Fiscal Deficit Misconceived? Proponents of Generational Accounting Overstate their Case," CESifo Working Paper Series 282, CESifo.
    2. Robert P. Hagemann & Christoph John, 1997. "Fiscal Reform In Sweden: What Generational Accounting Tells Us," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(3), pages 1-12, July.
    3. Jan Babecky & Kamil Dybczak, 2009. "The Impact of Population Ageing on the Czech Economy," Working Papers 2009/1, Czech National Bank.
    4. Nick Draper & Alex Armstrong, 2007. "GAMMA; a simulation model for ageing, pensions and public finances," CPB Document 147, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. Joaquim Levy & Ousmane Dore & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Generational Accounting for France," NBER Chapters, in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 239-276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. John Ablett, 1996. "Generational Accounting and Intergenerational Balance," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 3(4), pages 407-418.
    7. Svend E.. Hougaard Jensen & Bernd Raffelhuschen & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Public Debt, Welfare Reforms, and Intergenerational Distribution of Tax Burdens in Denmark," NBER Chapters, in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 219-238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Alan Auerbach & Bruce Baker & Laurence Kotlikoff & Jan Walliser, 1997. "Generational Accounting in New Zealand: Is There Generational Balance?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(2), pages 201-228, May.
    2. Koch, Daniel, 2011. "Wirksame Begrenzung von Staatsverschuldung auf europäischer Ebene," Discussion Paper Series 114, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    3. Marco Bassetto, 2009. "The Research Agenda: Marco Bassetto on the Quantitative Evaluation of Fiscal Policy Rules," EconomicDynamics Newsletter, Review of Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(2), April.
    4. Raffelhüschen, Bernd & Seuffert, Stefan, 2020. "Ehrbarer Staat? Wege und Irrwege der Rentenpolitik im Lichte der Generationenbilanz," Argumente zur Marktwirtschaft und Politik 148, Stiftung Marktwirtschaft / The Market Economy Foundation, Berlin.
    5. Raffelhüschen, Bernd, 2001. "Generational accounting: Quo vadis?," Discussion Papers 95, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Finanzwissenschaft.
    6. Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2002. "Generational policy," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 27, pages 1873-1932, Elsevier.
    7. Jérôme Creel & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "Wealth Effects and Public Debt in an Endogenous Growth Model. Banca d'Italia Public Finance Workshop 'Fiscal Sustainability : Analytical Developments and Emerging Policy Issues', Perugia, 3-5 April 20," Post-Print hal-01053226, HAL.
    8. Feist, Karen & Krimmer, Pascal & Raffelhüschen, Bernd, 2001. "Intergenerative Effekte einer lebenszyklusorientierten Einkommensteuerreform: Die Einfachsteuer des Heidelberger Steuerkreises," Discussion Papers 98, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Finanzwissenschaft.
    9. Stefan Domonkos & Andras Simonovits, 2016. "Pensions in transition in EU11 countries between 1990 and 2015," CERS-IE WORKING PAPERS 1615, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies.
    10. Krimmer, Pascal & Raffelhüschen, Bernd, 2003. "Intergenerative Umverteilung und Wachstumsimpulse der Steuerreformen 1999 bis 2005: Die Perspektive der Generationenbilanz," Discussion Papers 105, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Institut für Finanzwissenschaft.
    11. Alan J. Auerbach & Young Jun Chun & Ilho Yoo, 2005. "The Fiscal Burden of Korean Reunification: A Generational Accounting Approach," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(1), pages 62-97, March.
    12. Marco Bassetto, 2008. "Political Economy of Taxation in an Overlapping-Generations Economy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(1), pages 18-43, January.
    13. Bahnsen, Lewe & Manthei, Gerrit & Raffelhüschen, Bernd, 2017. "Ehrbarer Staat? Die Generationenbilanz. Update 2017: Nachhaltigkeit im Klammergriff des Wahlkampfes," Argumente zur Marktwirtschaft und Politik 138, Stiftung Marktwirtschaft / The Market Economy Foundation, Berlin.
    14. Bahnsen, Lewe & Fetzer, Stefan & Franke, Fabian & Hagist, Christian, 2020. "Gone with the windfall – Germany's Second LTC Strengthening Act and its intergenerational implications," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    15. Bahnsen, Lewe & Kohlstruck, Tobias & Manthei, Gerrit & Raffelhüschen, Bernd & Seuffert, Stefan & Wimmesberger, Florian, 2020. "Ehrbarer Staat? Die Generationenbilanz. Update 2020: Nachhaltigkeit im Schatten der Corona-Pandemie," Argumente zur Marktwirtschaft und Politik 152, Stiftung Marktwirtschaft / The Market Economy Foundation, Berlin.
    16. Christoph Borgmann & Matthias Heidler, 2003. "Demographics and Volatile Social Security Wealth: Political Risks of Benefit Rule Changes in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 1021, CESifo.
    17. Pedro Arévalo & Katia Berti & Alessandra Caretta & Per Eckefeldt, 2019. "The Intergenerational Dimension of Fiscal Sustainability," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 112, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    18. Bahnsen, Lewe & Kohlstruck, Tobias & Manthei, Gerrit & Raffelhüschen, Bernd & Seuffert, Stefan, 2019. "Ehrbarer Staat? Die Generationenbilanz. Update 2019: Fokus: Pflegefall Pflegeversicherung?," Argumente zur Marktwirtschaft und Politik 146, Stiftung Marktwirtschaft / The Market Economy Foundation, Berlin.
    19. Lewe Bahnsen & Stefan Fetzer & Fabian Franke & Christian Hagist, 2018. "Gone with the Windfall - Germany‘s Second LTC Strengthening Act and its Intergenerational Implications," WHU Working Paper Series - Economics Group 18-05, WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management.
    20. Marc Robinson, 1999. "Accrual Financial Reporting In the Australian Public Sector: An Economic Perspective," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 065, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5087. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.