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Sharing High Growth Across Generations: Pensions and Demographic Transition in China

  • Zheng Song
  • Kjetil Storesletten
  • Yikai Wang
  • Fabrizio Zilibotti

Intergenerational inequality and old-age poverty are salient issues in contemporary China. China’s aging population threatens the fiscal sustainability of its pension system, a key vehicle for intergenerational redistribution. We analyze the positive and normative effects of alternative pension reforms, using a dynamic general equi- librium model that incorporates population dynamics and productivity growth. Although a reform is necessary, delaying its implementation implies large welfare gains for the (poorer) current generations, imposing only small costs on (richer) future generations. In contrast, a fully funded reform harms current generations, with small gains to future generations. High wage growth is key for these results.

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Paper provided by UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series UBSCENTER - Working Papers with number 001.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zur:uceswp:001
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  1. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3467, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. William Lavely, 2001. "First Impressions from the 2000 Census of China," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 27(4), pages 755-769.
  3. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448, November.
  4. Feldstein, Martin, 1999. "Social Security Pension Reform in China," Scholarly Articles 2794835, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Marcos Chamon & Kai Liu & Eswar S. Prasad, 2010. "Income Uncertainty and Household Savings in China," NBER Working Papers 16565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2010. "A New Data Set of Educational Attainment in the World, 1950-2010," NBER Working Papers 15902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Understanding the long-run decline in interstate migration," Working Papers 697, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  9. Martin Feldstein, 1998. "Social Security Pension Reform in China," NBER Working Papers 6794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Barr, Nicholas & Diamond, Peter, 2008. "Reforming Pensions: Principles and Policy Choices," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195311303, March.
  11. Zhang, Junsen & Zhao, Yaohui & Park, Albert & Song, Xiaoqing, 2005. "Economic returns to schooling in urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 730-752, December.
  12. Felix Salditt & Peter Whiteford & Willem Adema, 2007. "Pension Reform in China: Progress and Prospects," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 53, OECD Publishing.
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