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Transition to fully funded pension schemes: a non-orthodox criticism

Sergio Cesaratto ()

Cambridge Journal of Economics, 2006, vol. 30, issue 1, 33-48

Abstract: The paper critically examines the dominant neoclassical views on the adoption of mandatory Fully Funded (FF) pension schemes as a partial or complete substitute for the unfunded Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) type. According to this view, such a transition will have the positive real effect of endowing future generations with higher capital and output per head, since it should cause a once and for all increase in aggregate saving and the capital stock. This would prepare the economy for future demographic developments. We examine three obstacles to such a claim. To begin with, the reform may fail to boost workers' marginal propensity to save, since workers may contract their voluntary saving to compensate for the larger mandatory saving to FF schemes. Second, if PAYG's payroll contributions are reduced and diverted to Pension Funds, the larger private saving supply will be balanced by lower government saving, if the government is committed to honouring the current pension payments. Third, Keynes's saving paradox, reinforced by the capital theory critique inspired by Sraffa, shows that the rise in the marginal propensity to save does not result in an increase in capital accumulation, but rather in a fall in income and employment. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2006
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