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The Social Security Trust Fund, the Riskless Interest Rate, and Capital Accumulation

  • Andrew B. Abel

This paper develops a tractable stochastic overlapping generations model to analyze the equilibrium equity premium and growth rate of the capital stock in the presence of a defined-benefit Social Security system. If the Social Security Trust Fund increases the share of its portfolio held in risky capital, the equilibrium equity premium falls in the following period and along a constant growth path. This change in the portfolio of the Social Security Trust Fund will increase the growth rate of capital in the following period, and, if a certain sufficient condition is satisfied, will increase the growth rate of the capital stock along a constant growth path. Calibration of the model indicates that it can match the historical average equity premium and the historical average growth rate of the capital stock using plausible values of the preference parameters. In addition, the sufficient condition for the growth rate of the capital stock to increase along a constant growth path is satisfied. Quantitatively, the effects on the riskless interest rate and the growth rate of capital are small.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6991.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Campbell, John and Martin Feldstein (eds.) Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6991
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  1. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  2. Bohn, Henning, 1998. "Risk Sharing in a Stochastic Overlapping Generations Economy," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt9r2809f0, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  3. Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1, December.
    • Robert J. Barro & Paul Romer, 1993. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr93-1, December.
  4. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Online Appendix to Should the Social Security Trust Fund hold Equities? An Intergenerational Welfare Analysis," Technical Appendices bohn99, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  5. Fama, Eugene F & French, Kenneth R, 1988. "Permanent and Temporary Components of Stock Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 246-73, April.
  6. Weil, Philippe, 1990. "Nonexpected Utility in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 29-42, February.
  7. repec:fth:calaec:4-98 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Jermann, Urban J., 1999. "Social security and institutions for intergenerational, intragenerational, and international risk-sharing : A comment," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 205-212, June.
  9. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
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