The Insurance Role of Social Security: Theory and Lessons for Policy Reform


Victor Hugo Valdivia

Publication Date:

September 1, 1997

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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


This paper examines the impact of social security on welfare. The provision of social security reduces precautionary savings and encourages early retirement. Consequently, it lowers aggregate capital, employment, output, and consumption. On the other hand, it also provides old age insurance. This trade-off is examined using a life-cycle general equilibrium model. The paper finds that the current U.S. Social Security system can improve welfare even though the levels of aggregate output, employment, capital, and consumption fall relative to their levels without such a system. The welfare gains arise from insurance against living much longer than expected.


Working Paper No. 1997/113



Publication Date:

September 1, 1997



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