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The Welfare Gains of Improving Risk Sharing in Social Security

  • Conny Olovsson

    ()

    (Department of Economics Stockholm School of Economics)

This paper shows that improved intergenerational risk sharing in social security may imply very large welfare gains, amounting to up to 15 percent of the per-period consumption relative to the current U.S. consumption. Improved risk sharing raises welfare through a direct effect, i.e., by correcting an initially inefficient allocation of risk, and through a general equilibrium (GE) effect. The GE effect is due to the fact that the allocation of risk in the pay-as-you-go system influences the demand for capital. As a result, with an efficient risk sharing arrangement, the crowding out effect associated with an unfunded system can actually be completely eliminated. Efficient risk sharing in social security implies highly volatile and pro-cyclical benefits, i.e., that retirees' exposure to productivity risk is increased. Consequently, a policy involving completely safe benefits will unambiguously be welfare reducing.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2005 Meeting Papers with number 584.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed005:584
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  1. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
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  9. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 1999. "The risk-sharing implications of alternative social security arrangements," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 213-259, June.
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