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Social Security and Institutions for Intergenerational, Intragenerational, and International Risk Sharing

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  • Robert J. Shiller

Abstract

Social security system old age insurance systems are devices for the sharing of income risks of elderly people with others. Risks can be shared intergenerationally (with the young of the same country), intragenerationally (with other elderly of the same country), or internationally (with foreigners). Barriers to individuals themselves sharing their risks intergenerationally, intragenerationally, or internationally are described. Optimal design of government-sponsored social security programs is considered in light of these barriers. Alternative benefits and contributions formulas for pay-as-you-go social security systems are defined and compared with existing and proposed formulas in terms of their ability to fulfill the government's role in promoting risk sharing. Benefits for each retired person may be ties to that person's lifetime income without causing (as with the U.S. benefits formula today) aggregate benefits for all elderly to be tied to their past aggregate income.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert J. Shiller, 1998. "Social Security and Institutions for Intergenerational, Intragenerational, and International Risk Sharing," JCPR Working Papers 43, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:43
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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