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Sharing Demographic Risk - Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?

Author

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  • Ludwig, Alexander

    () (Mannheim Research Institute for the Economics of Aging (MEA) and Sonderforschungsbereich 504)

  • Reiter, Michael

    (IHS, Wien)

Abstract

We model the optimal reaction of a public PAYG pension system to demographic shocks. We compare the ex-ante first best and second best solution of a Ramsey planner with full commitment to the outcome under simple third best rules that mimic the pension systems observed in the real world. The model, in particular the pension system, is calibrated to the German economy. The objective of the social planner is calibrated such that the size of the German pension system was optimal under the economic and demographic conditions of the 1960s. We find that the German system comes relatively close to the second-best solution. Furthermore, the German system and a constant contribution rate lead to a lower variability of lifetime utility than does the second best policy. The recent baby-boom/baby-bust cycle leads to welfare losses of about 5% of lifetime consumption for some cohorts. We argue that it is crucial for these results to model correctly the labor market distortions arising from the pension system.

Suggested Citation

  • Ludwig, Alexander & Reiter, Michael, 2008. "Sharing Demographic Risk - Who is Afraid of the Baby Bust?," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-47, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:08-47
    Note: We thank Alan Auerbach, Axel Boersch-Supan, Juan Carlos Conesa, Peter Diamond, Martin Gervais, Ashok Kaul, Dirk Krueger, Alice Schoonbroodt and seminar participants at SCE 2006 in Cyprus, Netspar 2007 Workshop in Tilburg, MIT, Institute of Advanced Studies in Vienna, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Barbara, University of Cologne, University of Frankfurt, University of Mannheim, LMU Munich, University of Oslo and University of Wuerzburg for helpful comments and discussions. Alex Ludwig gratefully acknowledges financial support from the German National Research Foundation (DFG) through SFB 504, the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the German Insurers Association (GDV).
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    Cited by:

    1. Sánchez-Romero, Miguel & Sambt, Jože & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2013. "Quantifying the role of alternative pension reforms on the Austrian economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 94-114.
    2. Auerbach, Alan & Kueng, Lorenz & Lee, Ronald & Yatsynovich, Yury, 2018. "Propagation and smoothing of shocks in alternative social security systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 91-105.
    3. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, "undated". "Social Security and the Interactions Between Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk," Working Papers ETH-RC-14-002, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.
    4. Michael Reiter, 2015. "Solving OLG Models with Asset Choice," 2015 Meeting Papers 1509, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Krzysztof Makarski & Joanna Tyrowicz & Magda Malec, 2018. "Evaluating welfare and economic effects of raised fertility," GRAPE Working Papers 25, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    6. Anna Batyra & David de la Croix & Olivier Pierrard & Henri Sneessens, 2016. "Structural changes in the labor market and the rise of early retirement in Europe," CREA Discussion Paper Series 16-13, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
    7. Gabay, Daniel & Grasselli, Martino, 2012. "Fair demographic risk sharing in defined contribution pension systems," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 657-669.
    8. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, 2015. "Social security in an analytically tractable overlapping generations model with aggregate and idiosyncratic risks," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(4), pages 579-603, August.
    9. Miguel Sánchez-Romero, 2013. "The role of demography on per capita output growth and saving rates," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 1347-1377, October.
    10. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, 2019. "Idiosyncratic Risk, Aggregate Risk, And The Welfare Effects Of Social Security," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 60(2), pages 661-692, May.
    11. Schön, Matthias, 2019. "Demographic Change and the German Current Account," Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203527, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Auerbach, Alan J. & Lee, Ronald, 2011. "Welfare and generational equity in sustainable unfunded pension systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1-2), pages 16-27, February.
    13. Alfonso R. Sánchez, 2014. "The automatic adjustment of pension expenditures in Spain:an evaluation of the 2013 pension reform," Working Papers 1420, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    14. Wolfgang Kuhle, 2014. "The Optimal Structure for Public Debt," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 321-348, May.
    15. Metzger, Christoph, 2016. "The German statutory pension scheme: Balance sheet, cross-sectional internal rates of return and implicit tax rates," FZG Discussion Papers 63, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    16. Reiter, Michael, 2015. "Solving OLG Models with Many Cohorts, Asset Choice and Large Shocks," Economics Series 320, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    17. repec:eee:joecag:v:10:y:2017:i:c:p:51-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Sánchez-Romero, Miguel & Prskawetz, Alexia, 2017. "Redistributive effects of the US pension system among individuals with different life expectancy," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 10(C), pages 51-74.
    19. Knell, Markus, 2013. "The Intergenerational Distribution of Demographic Fluctuations in Unfunded and Funded Pension Systems," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79830, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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