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Population Ageing, Government Budgets, and Productivity Growth in Politico-Economic Equilibrium

  • Martín Gonzales-Eiras

    ()

    (Universidad de San Andrés)

  • Dirk Niepelt

    ()

We analyze the effect of changes in fertility and longevity on taxes, the composition of government spending, and productivity. To that purpose, we introduce politics in an OLG economy with endogenous growth due to human and physical capital accumulation. Population ageing shifts political power from students and workers to retirees, leading to a reallocation of resources from education spending to retirement benefits and a slowdown of productivity growth. Calibrated to U.S. data, the closed-form solutions of the model predict retirement benefits as a share of GDP to strongly increase over the next decades and the education share to fall. This effect depresses the annual productivity growth rate by 10 basis points. In spite of higher labor-income taxes, per-capita labor supply is predicted to rise, as a consequence of increased life expectancy. The equilibrium allocation is consumption and production efficient, but the political process allocates a much smaller share of resources to eduction than a Ramsey planner with balanced welfare weights.

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Paper provided by Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee in its series Working Papers with number 07.05.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:szg:worpap:0705
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  1. Boldrin, Michele & Montes, Ana, 2002. "The Intergenerational State: Education and Pensions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  3. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1996. "Intergenerational Redistribution with Short-lived Governments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Martin Gonzalez-Eiras & Dirk Niepelt, 2004. "Sustaining Social Security," 2004 Meeting Papers 199, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  7. Dirk Niepelt & Martin Gonzalez-Eiras, 2011. "Economic and Politico-Economic Equivalence of Fiscal Policies," 2011 Meeting Papers 58, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Antonio Rangel, 2003. "Forward and Backward Intergenerational Goods: Why Is Social Security Good for the Environment?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 813-834, June.
  9. Thomas J. Sargent & Marco Bassetto, 2004. "Politics and Efficiency of Separating Capital and Ordinary Government Budgets," 2004 Meeting Papers 3, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1997. "Politico-economic equilibrium and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 243-272, January.
  11. William F. Blankenau & Nicole B. Simpson & Marc Tomljanovich, 2007. "Public Education Expenditures, Taxation, and Growth: Linking Data to Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 393-397, May.
  12. John Y. Campbell & Luis Viceira, 2005. "The Term Structure of the Risk-Return Tradeoff," NBER Working Papers 11119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gonzalez-Eiras, Martin & Niepelt, Dirk, 2007. "The Future of Social Security," CEPR Discussion Papers 6245, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  15. Giorgio Bellettini & Carlotta Berti Ceroni, 1999. "Is Social Security Really Bad for Growth?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 796-819, October.
  16. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
  17. Mulligan Casey B & Sala-i-Martin Xavier, 2004. "Internationally Common Features of Public Old-Age Pensions, and Their Implications for Models of the Public Sector," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37, May.
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