Privatizing Social Security in the U.S. -- Comparing the Options
Laurence J. Kotlikoff
This paper uses a new version of the Auerbach-Kotlikoff model to consider alternative ways to privatize the U.S. Social Security system. The new model incorporates intra- and intergenerational heterogeneity and is closely calibrated to U.S. fiscal institutions. Three privatization issues are considered: financing the transition, participation rules, and progressivity. As shown, Social Security's privatization can substantially raise long-run living standards. But these gains come at the cost of welfare losses to transition generations and take a long time to materialize. The long-run poor have much to gain from privatization even absent an explicit redistribution mechanism. Finally, privatizations that give initial workers the option of remaining in the current system have particularly low transition costs and particularly favorable macroeconomic consequences. (Copyright: Elsevier)
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