Mitigating Demographic Risk Through Social Insurance
NBER Working Paper No. 215
A two-period lifetime overlapping generations growth model is used to evaluate the possibility that social insurance can effectively offset economic risks associated with uncertainty about the rate of population growth. Crude measures of the seriousness of this type of risk in the current United States situation are presented. Sufficient conditions on the structure of the economy for such intergenerational risk pooling to be mutually beneficial to all members of society are derived. Although it is logically possible to satisfy them1 we argue that they are unlikely to be realized empirically in an economy similar to that of the United States. Because of this failure, some more complex types of policy options are also discussed.
Published: Demographics Market Failure and Social Security, ed. Susan Wachter, Lexington Books, 1988