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Government Debt and Social Security in a Life-Cycle Economy

  • Mark Gertler

This paper develops a tractable overlapping generations model that is useful for analyzing both the short and long run impact of fiscal policy and social security. It modifies the Blanchard (1985)/Weil (1987) framework to allow for life/cycle behavior. This is accomplished by introducing random transition from work to retirement, and then from retirement to death. The transition probabilities may be picked to allow for realistic average lengths of life, work and retirement. The resulting framework is not appreciably more difficult to analyze than the standard Cass/Koopmans one sector growth model: Besides the capital stock, there is only one additional state variable: the distribution of wealth between workers and retirees. Under reasonable parameter values, government debt and social security have significant effects on capital intensity.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6000.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6000.

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Date of creation: Apr 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Vol. 50, no. 1 (June 1999): 61-110
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6000
Note: ME PE
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  1. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  2. Gali, Jordi, 1990. "Finite horizons, life-cycle savings, and time-series evidence on consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 433-452, December.
  3. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  4. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 315-407.
  6. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Kahn, Charles M, 1980. "The Solution of Linear Difference Models under Rational Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1305-11, July.
  7. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  8. Weil, Philippe, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42, February.
  9. Romer, D., 1988. "What Are The Costs Of Excessive Deficits?," Papers 14, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  10. Roger E.A. Farmer, 1989. "Rince Preferences," UCLA Economics Working Papers 547, UCLA Department of Economics.
  11. Robert J. Shiller & John Y. Campbell, 1986. "The Dividend-Price Ratio and Expectations of Future Dividends and Discount Factors," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 812, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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