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Markovian Social Security in Unequal Societies

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  • Zheng Song

    (Fudan University)

  • Kaiji Chen

    (University of Oslo)

Abstract

In this paper, we develop a dynamic politico-economic theory of social security to address two questions. First, how is social security sustained? Second, how does inequality affect the size of social security, and can the theoretical predictions be consistent with the observed puzzling relationships between inequality and the size of social security? As a stark framework, our model economy features the absence of altruism, commitment, reputation mechanism and electoral uncertainty. We characterize analytically a Markov perfect equilibrium and find that the joint between Markovian tax policy and tax distortion on private investment shapes an intertemporal policy rule linking taxes positively over time. The positive intertemporal tax linkage, by allowing current taxpayers to influence their own future social security benefit, provides the political support for social security. Moreover, we find that a larger wage inequality weakens the intertemporal tax linkage and, thus, reduces inter-generational redistributive benefit. This may lead to a smaller size of social security. Our theoretical predictions are in line with both time-series and cross-country correlations between inequality and social security.

Suggested Citation

  • Zheng Song & Kaiji Chen, 2009. "Markovian Social Security in Unequal Societies," 2009 Meeting Papers 318, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:318
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cremer, Helmuth & De Donder, Philippe & Maldonado, Dario & Pestieau, Pierre, 2007. "Voting over type and generosity of a pension system when some individuals are myopic," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2041-2061.
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    7. Hassler, John & Storesletten, Kjetil & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2007. "Democratic public good provision," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 127-151, March.
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    9. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ono, Tetsuo & Uchida, Yuki, 2016. "Pensions, education, and growth: A positive analysis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 127-143.
    2. Tetsuo Ono, 2017. "Aging, Pensions, and Growth," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 73(2), pages 163-189, June.
    3. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2009. "The Political Economy of Social Security and Public Goods Provision in a Borrowing-constrained Economy," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 09-38, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    4. Bishnu, Monisankar & Wang, Min, 2017. "The political intergenerational welfare state," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 93-110.
    5. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2011. "Old-age Social Security vs. Forward Intergenerational Public Goods Provision," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 11-26-Rev, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), revised Apr 2012.
    6. Ryo Arawatari & Tetsuo Ono, 2015. "A Political Economy Model of Earnings Mobility and Redistribution Policy," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(3), pages 346-382, June.
    7. Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, 2011. "Social security as Markov equilibrium in OLG models: a note," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(3), pages 549-552, July.

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