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Intergenerational Risk Sharing and Fiscal Policy

  • Henning Bohn

The paper derives conditions for ex ante efficient intergenerational risk sharing in overlapping generations models. I show how the efficiency of a fiscal policy can be evaluated without distributional judgments, I derive efficiency conditions, and then examine specific models. For models with CRRA preferences, laissez-faire allocations are found inefficient in the direction of imposing not enough productivity risk on retirees and too much risk on future generations. Governments commonly issue safe debt and promise safe public pensions, which protects retirees and shifts more risk onto future generations. This is inefficient, except under one condition: if preferences display age-increasing risk aversion. Thus governments seem to treat future generations of workers as if they are more risk tolerant than retirees

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 22.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:22
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Gordon, Roger H. & Varian, Hal R., 1988. "Intergenerational risk sharing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 185-202, November.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Introduction to "Generational Accounting around the World"," NBER Chapters, in: Generational Accounting around the World, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Social Security and Individual Accounts as Elements of Overall Risk-Sharing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 343-347, May.
  4. Marianne Baxter & Urban J. Jermann, 1995. "The International Diversification Puzzle is Worse Than You Think," NBER Working Papers 5019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 1981. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Campbell, John Y., 1994. "Inspecting the mechanism: An analytical approach to the stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 463-506, June.
  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Ogaki, Masao, 1995. "Measuring intertemporal substitution: The role of durable goods," MPRA Paper 13690, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Antonio Rangel & Richard Zeckhauser, 1999. "Can Market and Voting Institutions Generate Optimal Intergenerational Risk Sharing?," NBER Working Papers 6949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Henning Bohn, 1999. "Social Security and Demographic Uncertainty: The Risk Sharing Properties of Alternative Policies," NBER Working Papers 7030, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2002. "Optimal Long-Run Fiscal Policy: Constraints, Preferences and the Resolution of Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 9132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Henry Kim, 1999. "Inaccuracy of Loglinear Approximation in Welfare Calculations: the Case of International Risk Sharing," Computing in Economics and Finance 1999 251, Society for Computational Economics.
  12. Andrew B. Abel, . "The Effects of Investing Social Security Funds in the Stock Market When Fixed Costs Prevent Some Households from Holding Stocks," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 09-00, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  13. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Willi Leibfritz, 1999. "Generational Accounting around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number auer99-1, March.
  14. Enders, Walter & Lapan, Harvey E, 1982. "Social Security Taxation and Intergenerational Risk Sharing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(3), pages 647-58, October.
  15. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
  16. Dirk Krueger & Felix Kubler, 2002. "Intergenerational Risk-Sharing via Social Security when Financial Markets Are Incomplete," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 407-410, May.
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