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Labor Supply and the Optimality of Social Security

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  • Shantanu Bagchi

    () (Department of Economics, Towson University)

Abstract

Traditional economic theory predicts that unfunded social security can be justified on the basis of its ability to efficiently finance retirement, and also for its ability to provide insurance against mortality risk and uninsurable shocks to labor income. In this paper, I demonstrate that the quantitative importance of the traditional roles of social security depends on how household labor supply responds to social security. I build a calibrated general-equilibrium model where social security has a large welfare-improving role, and I show that the distortionary effect on households' labor hours erases virtually all the welfare gains from social security. I also find that this result is robust within the range of labor supply elasticities usually encountered in the macroeconomic literature..

Suggested Citation

  • Shantanu Bagchi, 2014. "Labor Supply and the Optimality of Social Security," Working Papers 2014-04, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2014-04
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliwia Komada & Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz, 2017. "Welfare effects of fiscal policy in reforming the pension system," GRAPE Working Papers 11, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    2. repec:eee:jeborg:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:65-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Frank N. Caliendo & Aspen Gorry & Sita Slavov, 2017. "Survival Ambiguity and Welfare," NBER Working Papers 23648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shantanu Bagchi, 2016. "Differential Mortality and the Progressivity of Social Security," Working Papers 2016-03, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2016.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor supply; Social security; Mortality risk; Productivity shock; Insurance; Elasticity.;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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