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Intergenerational Smoothing of New Zealand’s Future Fiscal Costs

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Abstract

This paper applies an overlapping generations model in order to evaluate the implications of intergenerational smoothing of New Zealand’s future fiscal costs. The analysis complements the New Zealand fiscal projections of Bell et al. (2010) and the New Zealand tax smoothing analysis in Davis and Fabling (2002). It allows for feedback effects of the tax rate on labour supply through both intratemporal and intertemporal effects which in turn feed back to fiscal projections via taxation revenue. Under Treasury’s sustainable debt projections, which implies convergence to a stable 20% net debt to GDP ratio, generations born prior to 1990 are worse off and those born after 2000 are better off (measured by the impact on their remaining lifetime income). However, the magnitudes of the impact on the remaining lifetime income of all generations are small – no greater that 0.7% under the Medium demographic scenario. Those born around 1960 fare the worst, while those born after 2020 fare the best. The losses to current generations are weighed up against the gains to future generations through the social welfare function. The results show that net social gains are possible provided the gains to future generations are given sufficient weight by a low rate of social time preference and a high rate of aversion to variability in aggregate consumption over time. The parameter values required to generate net social gains are close to the bounds of plausible values. The magnitudes of the net social gains/losses range from minus $90 to plus $94 per capita per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross Guest, 2013. "Intergenerational Smoothing of New Zealand’s Future Fiscal Costs," Treasury Working Paper Series 13/12, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:13/12
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    File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2013/13-12/twp13-12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kulish Mariano & Kent Christopher & Smith Kathryn, 2010. "Aging, Retirement, and Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, July.
    2. Ross Guest, 2008. "Smoothing the Fiscal Costs of Population Ageing in Australia: Effects on Intergenerational Equity and Social Welfare," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 84(265), pages 177-192, June.
    3. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 2005. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Consumption and Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 769-796, October.
    4. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
    5. Ross Guest & John Bryant & Grant Scobie, 2003. "Population Ageing In New Zealand: Implications for Living Standards and the Optimal Rate of Saving," Treasury Working Paper Series 03/10, New Zealand Treasury.
    6. Heikki Oksanen, 2003. "Population ageing and public finance targets," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 196, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. Matthew Bell & Gary Blick & Oscar Parkyn & Paul Rodway & Polly Vowles, 2010. "Challenges and Choices: Modelling New Zealand’s Long-term Fiscal Position," Treasury Working Paper Series 10/01, New Zealand Treasury.
    8. Nick Davis & Richard Fabling, 2002. "Population Ageing and the Efficiency of Fiscal Policy in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 02/11, New Zealand Treasury.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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