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Second-best national saving and growth with intergenerational disagreement

  • Francisco M. Gonzalez

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo)

  • Itziar Lazkano

    (Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

  • Sjak A. Smulders

    (Department of Economics, Tilburg University)

We illustrate the contrast between two sources of intergenerational disagreement when generations are overlapping and governments aggregate preferences in a utilitarian manner. Social preferences tend to exhibit a present-bias because generations are imperfectly altruistic about future generations; but they tend to exhibit a future-bias because coexisting generations are imperfectly altruistic about currently older generations. When the future-bias dominates, society faces an intergenerational equity problem, in which case the present-day government tends to support institutions that enable commitments to lower growth at the expense of future generations. This is so even with perfect altruism about future generations.

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Paper provided by University of Waterloo, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1403.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2014
Date of revision: Mar 2014
Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1403
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  1. ZUBER, Stéphane, . "The aggregation of preferences: can we ignore the past?," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2345, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Krusell, Per & Kuruscu, Burhanettin & Smith, Anthony Jr., 2002. "Equilibrium Welfare and Government Policy with Quasi-geometric Discounting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 42-72, July.
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  8. Ray, Debraj, 1987. "Nonpaternalistic intergenerational altruism," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 112-132, February.
  9. Burbidge, John B, 1983. "Government Debt in an Overlapping-Generations Model with Bequests and Gifts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 222-27, March.
  10. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  11. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1989. "Intergenerational Altruism, Dynastic Equilibria and Social Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 119-28, January.
  13. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Ramsey Meets Laibson In The Neoclassical Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1125-1152, November.
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  16. Kohlberg, Elon, 1976. "A model of economic growth with altruism between generations," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-13, August.
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