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Social security and the rise in health spending: a macroeconomic analysis

  • Zhao, Kai
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In this paper, I develop a quantitative macroeconomic model with endogenous health and endogenous longevity and use it to study the impact of Social Security on aggregate health spending. I find that Social Security increases the aggregate health spending of the economy via two channels. First, Social Security transfers resources from the young with low marginal propensity to spend on health care to the elderly (age 65+) with high marginal propensity to spend on health care. Second, Social Security raises people's expected future utility and thus increases the marginal benefit from investing in health to live longer. In the calibrated version of the model, I show that the positive impact of Social Security on aggregate health spending is quantitatively important. The expansion of US Social Security since 1950 can account for approximately 43% of the dramatic rise in US health spending as a share of GDP over the same period (i.e. from 4% of GDP in 1950 to 13% of GDP in 2000). I also find that this positive impact of Social Security has two interesting policy implications. First, the negative effect of Social Security on capital accumulation in this model is significantly smaller than what previous studies have found, because Social Security induces extra years of life via health spending and thus encourages private savings for retirement. Second, Social Security has a significant spill-over effect on public health insurance programs (e.g. Medicare). As Social Security increases health spending and longevity, it also increases the insurance payments from these programs, thus raising their financial burden.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/34203/1/MPRA_paper_34203.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34203.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34203
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  1. 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.
  2. Robert A. Moffitt & Peter Gottschalk, 2002. "Trends in the Transitory Variance of Earnings in the United States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C68-C73, March.
  3. David M. Cutler & Angus S. Deaton & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2006. "The Determinants of Mortality," Working Papers id:359, eSocialSciences.
  4. Motohiro Yogo, 2009. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," NBER Working Papers 15307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Davies, James B. & Kuhn, Peter, 1992. "Social security, longevity, and moral hazard," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 91-106, October.
  6. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. " The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
  7. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-77, June.
  8. Luisa Fuster & Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Selahattin İmrohoroğlu, 2007. "Elimination of Social Security in a Dynastic Framework," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 113-145.
  9. Timothy Halliday & Hui He & Hao Zhang, 2012. "Health Investment over the Life-Cycle," Working Papers 201210, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  10. Gary Hansen & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2008. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: The Role of Annuities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 566-583, July.
  11. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
  12. Follette, Glenn & Sheiner, Louise, 2005. "The Sustainability of Health Spending Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 58(3), pages 391-408, September.
  13. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 2005. "The value of life and the rise in health spending," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 1999. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," NBER Working Papers 7442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Luisa Fuster & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2003. "A welfare analysis of social security in a dynastic framework," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1247-1274, November.
  16. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security And Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119, August.
  17. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  18. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  19. Amy Finkelstein, 2005. "The Aggregate Effects of Health Insurance: Evidence from the Introduction of Medicare," NBER Working Papers 11619, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Grossman, Michael, 2006. "Education and Nonmarket Outcomes," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  21. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2010. "The Macroeconomics of Health Savings Accounts," Working Papers 2010-12, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised May 2011.
  22. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  23. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  24. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Social Security and the Evolution of Elderly Poverty," NBER Working Papers 10466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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