The Aging of the Population and the Size of the Welfare State

Author/Editor:

Phillip L Swagel ; Efraim Sadka ; Assaf Razin

Publication Date:

April 1, 2002

Electronic Access:

Download PDF. Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

Data for the United States and countries in Western Europe indicate a negative correlation between the dependency ratio and both labor tax rates and the generosity of social transfers, after controlling for other factors that influence the size of the welfare state. This is despite the increased political clout of the dependent population implied by the aging of the population. This paper develops a model of intra-and inter-generational transfers and human capital formation which addresses this seeming puzzle. We show that with democratic voting, a higher dependency ratio can lead to lower taxes or less generous social transfers.

Series:

Working Paper No. 02/68

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

April 1, 2002

ISBN/ISSN:

9781451849004/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA0682002

Price:

$15.00 (Academic Rate:$15.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

24

Please address any questions about this title to publications@imf.org