IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Social Security and Democracy

  • Casey B. Mulligan
  • Ricard Gil
  • Xavier Sala-i-Martin

Many political economic theories use and emphasize the process of voting in their explanation of the growth of Social Security, government spending, and other public policies. But is there an empirical connection between democracy and Social Security program size or design? Using some new international data sets to produce both country-panel econometric estimates as well as case studies of South American and southern European countries, we find that Social Security policy varies according to economic and demographic factors, but that very different political histories can result in the same Social Security policy. We find little partial effect of democracy on the size of Social Security budgets, on how those budgets are allocated, or how economic and demographic factors affect Social Security. If there is any observed difference, democracies spend a little less of their GDP on Social Security, grow their budgets a bit more slowly, and cap their payroll tax more often, than do economically and demographically similar nondemocracies. Democracies and nondemocracies are equally likely to have benefit formulas inducing retirement and, conditional on GDP per capita, equally likely to induce retirement with a retirement test vs. an earnings test.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8958.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8958.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: May 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier X. Sala-i-Martin, 2010. "Social Security and Democracy," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, Berkeley Electronic Press, vol. 10(1).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8958
Note: AG PE
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2001. "Age Bias in Fiscal Policy: Why Does the Political Process Favor the Elderly?," Occidental Economics Working Papers 1, Occidental College, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2006.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Robert J. Barro, 1988. "A Reformulation of the Economic Theory of Fertility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25.
  3. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "The Family and the State," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, April.
  4. Niskanen, William A, 1997. "Autocratic, Democratic, and Optimal Government," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(3), pages 464-79, July.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  6. Barro, Robert J, 1979. "On the Determination of the Public Debt," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 940-71, October.
  7. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1998. "Social Security, the Family, and Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 390-409, July.
  8. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  9. John R. Lott, Jr., 1999. "Public Schooling, Indoctrination, and Totalitarianism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S127-S157, December.
  10. Browning, Edgar K, 1975. "Why the Social Insurance Budget Is Too Large in a Democracy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 373-88, September.
  11. Robert J. Barro, 1996. "Determinants of Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Empirical Study," NBER Working Papers 5698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dougan, William R & Snyder, James M, 1993. "Are Rents Fully Dissipated?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(4), pages 793-813, December.
  13. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Social Security in Theory and Practice (II): Efficiency Theories, Narrative Theories, and Implications for Reform," NBER Working Papers 7119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. John Laitner, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(2), pages 275-299.
  15. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  16. Alesina, Alberto F & Cohen, Gerald D & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "Macroeconomic Policy and Elections in OECD Democracies," CEPR Discussion Papers 608, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. P. A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1977. "A Model of Social Insurance With Variable Retirement," Working papers 210, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Robert J. Barro, 1994. "Democracy & Growth," NBER Working Papers 4909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1994. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 1025, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
  22. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  23. Case, Anne C. & Rosen, Harvey S. & Hines, James Jr., 1993. "Budget spillovers and fiscal policy interdependence : Evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 285-307, October.
  24. Alberto Alesina & Gerald D. Cohen & Nouriel Roubini, 1992. "Macroeconomic Policy And Elections In Oecd Democracies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, 03.
  25. Gary S. Becker & Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," NBER Working Papers 6789, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Thomas F. Cooley & Jorge Soares, 1999. "A Positive Theory of Social Security Based on Reputation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 135-160, February.
  27. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
  28. Casey B. Mulligan & Tomas J. Philipson, 2000. "Merit Motives and Government Intervention: Public Finance in Reverse," NBER Working Papers 7698, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
  30. Tomas J. Philipson & Gary S. Becker, 1998. "Old-Age Longevity and Mortality-Contingent Claims," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 551-573, June.
  31. Alberto Alesina & David Dollar, 1998. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," NBER Working Papers 6612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Peter Lindert, 2004. "Social Spending and Economic Growth," Challenge, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 47(4), pages 6-16, July.
  33. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
  34. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1999. "Gerontocracy, Retirement, and Social Security," NBER Working Papers 7117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Cohen, Gerald & Alesina, Alberto & Roubini, Nouriel, 1992. "Macroeconomic Policy and Elections in OECD Democracies," Scholarly Articles 4553023, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  37. David M. Cutler & Richard Johnson, 2004. "The Birth and Growth of the Social Insurance State: Explaining Old Age and Medical Insurance Across Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 87-121, 07.
  38. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
  39. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  40. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong Wha, 1996. "International Measures of Schooling Years and Schooling Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 218-23, May.
  41. Benabou, R., 1996. "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 96-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  42. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  43. Tabellini, Guido, 1990. "A Positive Theory of Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 394, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  44. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
  45. Robert C. Merton, 1981. "On the Role of Social Security as a Means for Efficient Risk-Bearing in an Economy Where Human Capital Is Not Tradeable," NBER Working Papers 0743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  46. Sam Peltzman, 1980. "The Growth of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 1, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  47. Lindert, Peter H., 1996. "What Limits Social Spending?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 1-34, January.
  48. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
  49. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  50. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
  51. Oscar Godoy & Salvador Valdés, 1994. "Democracia y Previsión en Chile: Experiencia con Dos Sistemas," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 31(93), pages 135-160.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8958. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.