MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? DEMOGRAPHIC BULGES, THE PRODUCTIVITY PUZZLE, AND CPP REFORM
J. C. HERBERT EMERY
"Analysts predict that future demographically driven financial imbalances will undermine the sustainability of pay-as-you-go social insurance arrangements like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Proposed reforms for the CPP focus on raising the contribution rate to pre fund future benefits. In an overlapping generations model, the authors examine how demographic factors alone could explain the observed changes in productivity/wage growth over the last 30 years. The authors also examine how these factors impact on a pay-as-you-go financed CPP. If Canada is a small open economy, then real wages and real interest rates are not affected by domestic demographic conditions. In this setting, increasing payroll taxes transfers the burden of finance away from the lower income baby bust generation to the higher income baby boom generation. In contrast, if Canada can be characterized as a closed economy, then real wages and real interest rates are sensitive to domestic demographic conditions. In this setting, increasing payroll taxes now to keep taxes lower in future is intergenerationally regressive because the CPP burden is reduced for the well off baby bust generation and passed onto the lower income baby boomers." ("JEL" H55, J18, J10) Copyright 1999 Western Economic Association International.
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