Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Sharing High Growth Across Generations: Pensions and Demographic Transition in China

Author(s): Zheng Michael Song, Kjetil Storesletten, Yikai Wang and Fabrizio Zilibotti

Publication Date: September 2012

Keyword(s): China, Credit market imperfections, Demographic transition, Economic growth, Fully funded system, Inequality, Intergenerational redistribution, Labor supply, Migration, Pensions and Poverty

Programme Area(s): International Macroeconomics

Abstract: Intergenerational inequality and old-age poverty are salient issues in contemporary China. China's aging population threatens the fiscal sustainability of its pension system, a key vehicle for intergenerational redistribution. We analyze the positive and normative effects of alternative pension reforms, using a dynamic general equilibrium model that incorporates population dynamics and productivity growth. Although a reform is necessary, delaying its implementation implies large welfare gains for the (poorer) current generations, imposing only small costs on (richer) future generations. In contrast, a fully funded reform harms current generations, with small gains to future generations. High wage growth is key for these results.

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Bibliographic Reference

Song, Z, Storesletten, K, Wang, Y and Zilibotti, F. 2012. 'Sharing High Growth Across Generations: Pensions and Demographic Transition in China'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.