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Assessing the efficiency of public education and pensions

Abstract

Theory says that, in an overlapping-generations context, intergenerational transfer agreements are efficient if they induce equality between certain implicit rates of return. We apply this theory to the case of public education and pensions, where public education is interpreted as a loan from middle age to young, and pensions are the repayment of this loan, plus interest, from middle age to old. We use micro- and macrodata from Spain to estimate how far actual arrangements are from the normative goal. When demographic stationarity is assumed, efficiency appears reachable. When demographic change is accounted for, efficiency is far from being achieved. Nevertheless, and contrary to earlier predictions in the generational accounting literature, our findings suggest that future generations may not necessarily be worse off than current ones.

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Correspondence to Ana Montes.

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Responsible editor: Alessandro Cigno

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Boldrin, M., Montes, A. Assessing the efficiency of public education and pensions. J Popul Econ 22, 285–309 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-007-0178-z

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Keywords

  • Public education
  • Public pensions
  • Demographic shocks

JEL Classification

  • H52
  • H55
  • J11