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What social security: Beveridgean or Bismarckian?

  • J. Ignacio Conde
  • Paola Profeta

Why are Bismarckian social security systems associated with larger public pension expenditures, a smaller fraction of private pension and lower income in-equality than Beveridgean systems? These facts are puzzling for political economy theories of social security which predict that Beveridgean systems, involving intra-generational redistribution, should enjoy larger support among low-income people and thus be larger. This paper explains these features in a bidimensional political economy model. In an economy with three income groups, low-income support a large, redistributive system; middle-income favor an earning-related system, while high-income oppose any public system, since they have access to a superior saving technology, a private system. We show that, if income inequality is large, the voting majority of high-income and low-income supports a (small) Beveridgean system, and a large private pillar arises; the opposite occurs with low inequality. Additionally, when the capital market provides higher returns, a Beveridgean system is more likely to emerge.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 633.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:633
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. CASAMATTA, Georges & CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1449, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. CASAMATTA, Georges & CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1999. "The political economy of social security," CORE Discussion Papers 1999055, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  6. Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Early Retirement," CEPR Discussion Papers 3896, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 1998. "Social insurance, majority voting and labor mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 397-420, June.
  8. Tito Boeri & Axel Boersch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Pension Reforms and the Opinions of European Citizens," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 396-401, May.
  9. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E., 1996. "Ends against the middle: Determining public service provision when there are private alternatives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 297-325, November.
  10. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
  11. Franco Peracchi, 2002. "The European Community Household Panel: A review," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 63-90.
  12. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
  13. Michael J. Boskin & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Douglas J. Puffert & John B. Shoven, 1987. "Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations," NBER Working Papers 1891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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