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Evaluating pay-as-you-go social security systems

  • Andreas Bachmann
  • Kaspar Wüthrich

This paper proposes a new method for welfare analysis of unfunded social security systems. Based on an overlapping generations model with endogenous labor supply, we derive a formula for the evaluation of existing pay-as-you-go social security systems that depends on impulse response functions and projected growth rates only. We propose an implementation strategy based on reduced form estimates of a VAR model that is valid under weak assumptions about the deep structure of the model. Our method is related to the sufficient statistic approach (Chetty, 2009). For the current system in the United States, we find that a transitory increase in the payroll tax rate along with higher pension benefits leads to a welfare increase mainly due to welfare gains of today's retirees. A scenario analysis demonstrates the robustness of this result.

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Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp1310.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1310
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  1. Gonzalez-Eiras, Marti­n & Niepelt, Dirk, 2008. "The future of social security," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 197-218, March.
  2. Zheng Song, 2011. "The Dynamics of Inequality and Social Security in General Equilibrium," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 613-635, October.
  3. Krueger, Dirk & Kubler, Felix, 2005. "Pareto improving social security reform when financial markets are incomplete!?," CFS Working Paper Series 2005/12, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. Gonzalez-Eiras, Martin & Niepelt, Dirk, 2012. "Ageing, government budgets, retirement, and growth," MPRA Paper 44218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Fehr, Hans & Kallweit, Manuel & Kindermann, Fabian, 2012. "Pension reform with variable retirement age: a simulation analysis for Germany," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 389-417, July.
  6. Breyer, Friedrich & Straub, Martin, 1993. "Welfare effects of unfunded pension systems when labor supply is endogenous," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 77-91, January.
  7. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2006. "Cash-on-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 12639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hans Fehr & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1995. "Generational Accounting in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 5090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 0970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "Labor supply elasticity and social security reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 867-878, August.
  11. Nourry, C., 1998. "Stability of Equilibria in the Overlapping Generations Model with Endogenous Labor Supply," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 98a01, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  12. Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2012. "On financing retirement with an aging population," Staff Report 472, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  13. Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Smetters, Kent & Walliser, Jan, 2007. "Mitigating America's demographic dilemma by pre-funding social security," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 247-266, March.
  14. Pecchenino, R.A., 1994. "Social Security, Social Welfare and the Aging Population," Papers 9403, Michigan State - Econometrics and Economic Theory.
  15. Feldstein, Martin, 2005. "Structural Reform of Social Security," Scholarly Articles 2794830, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, 04.
  17. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  18. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Sufficient Statistics for Welfare Analysis: A Bridge Between Structural and Reduced-Form Methods," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 451-488, 05.
  19. Emin Gahramanov & Xueli Tang, 2013. "Should We Refinance Unfunded Social Security?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(319), pages 532-565, 07.
  20. Fanti, Luciano & Spataro, Luca, 2006. "Endogenous labor supply in Diamond's (1965) OLG model: A reconsideration of the debt role," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 428-438, June.
  21. Martin Feldstein, 2005. "Structural Reform of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 11098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lopez-Garcia, Miguel-Angel, 2008. "On the role of public debt in an OLG model with endogenous labor supply," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1323-1328, September.
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