The political (in)stability of funded pension systems

We analyze the political stability of capital funded social security. In particular, using a stylized theoretical framework we study the mechanisms behind governments capturing pension assets in order to lower current taxes. This is followed by an analysis of the analogous mechanisms in a
fully- edged overlapping generations model with intra-cohort heterogeneity. Funding is efficient in a Kaldor-Hicks sense. Individuals vote on capturing the accumulated pension assets and replacing the funded pension pillar with a pay-as-you-go scheme. We show that even if capturing assets reduces welfare in the long run, it always has sufficient political support from those alive at the moment of the vote.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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