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Optimal Design of Means Tested Retirement Benefits

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  • Dr Justin van de Ven

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Abstract

The design of welfare benefits is a tricky business. In this respect, James Meade placed particular emphasis on the importance of avoiding excessive distortions to the price of labour. Nevertheless, Meade noted that means testing in the delivery of welfare benefits is likely to be desirable in view of the 'hideously expensive' cost of universal benefits provision Ñ he conjectured that £1 of benefits lost for every £2 of private income earned might be appropriate. In this study we take a fresh look at the role of means testing in the provision of retirement benefits in the United Kingdom. We use an articulated rational agent model of the household to explore the effects on welfare of alternative budgetary neutral pensions arrangements. We find that extensive means testing of retirement benefits is preferred, consistent with the conjectures stated by Meade. Our analysis highlights the importance of taking into account the distortions associated with alternative methods of benefits financing when considering pensions reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Dr Justin van de Ven, 2009. "Optimal Design of Means Tested Retirement Benefits," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 332, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:2272
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    Cited by:

    1. Whelan, Stephen & Atalay, Kadir & Hayward, Richard Donald, 2018. "Asset portfolio retirement decisions: the role of the tax and transfer system," SocArXiv akj8w, Center for Open Science.
    2. Emily Dabbs & Cagri Kumru, 2016. "How Well Does the Australian Aged Pension Provide Social Insurance?," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 192-211, September.
    3. Cagri S. Kumru & John Piggott, 2017. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Means-tested Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(3), pages 227-262, July.
    4. Cagri Seda Kumru & John Piggott, 2010. "Should Public Retirement Pensions Be Means-tested?," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_049, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    5. Justin van de Ven, 2016. "LINDA: A dynamic microsimulation model for analysing policy effects on the evolving population cross-section," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 459, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    6. Islam, Nizamul & Colombino, Ugo, 2018. "The case for NIT+FT in Europe. An empirical optimal taxation exercise," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 38-69.
    7. Justin van de Ven & Paolo Lucchino, 2013. "Modelling the Dynamic Effects of Transfer Policy: The LINDA Policy Analysis Tool," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n20, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    8. Sang-Wook (Stanley) Cho & Renuka Sane, 2014. "Means-tested Age-Pension and Saving," Discussion Papers 2014-03, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    9. Dr Justin van de Ven, 2010. "The Effects of Myopia on Pension Decisions," National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) Discussion Papers 356, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    10. Bielecki, Marcin & Goraus, Karolina & Hagemejer, Jan & Makarski, Krzysztof & Tyrowicz, Joanna, 2015. "Small assumptions (can) have a large bearing: evaluating pension system reforms with OLG models," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 210-221.
    11. Woodland, A., 2016. "Taxation, Pensions, and Demographic Change," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 713-780, Elsevier.
    12. Tran, Chung & Woodland, Alan, 2014. "Trade-offs in means tested pension design," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 72-93.
    13. van de Ven, Justin, 2017. "SIDD: An adaptable framework for analysing the distributional implications of policy alternatives where savings and employment decisions matter," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 161-174.
    14. Fehr, Hans & Uhde, Johannes, 2014. "Means-testing and economic efficiency in pension design," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(S1), pages 57-67.
    15. Blundell, R. & French, E. & Tetlow, G., 2016. "Retirement Incentives and Labor Supply," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 457-566, Elsevier.

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