Mirovinski tsunami – Becker & Ehrlich (UPDATE)

autora/ice cronomy

Bez obzira da li se radi o premjeru ili blogeru (čije izjave su na istoj razini kvalitete kod nas) prije nego dublje i značajnije krenemo u diskusije i izjave o važnim temama poput mirovinskog sustava, valja se dobro informirati. U Hrvatskoj ne fali radova o mirovinskom sustavu, a i strani radovi su iznimno poučni. Kao jedan uvod, ispod je članak iz WSJ koji su napisali nobelovac Gary Becker i Isaac Ehrlich davne 1994. Bez obzira na datum, članak je svijež u svom pogledu i identifikaciji problema mirovinskih sustava kao da je i jučer napisan. Poučci primjera Čilea, Singapura i Hong Konga su zanimljiv, financijska održivost i utjecaji na realnu ekonomiju mirovinskih sustava važni. Obratite pažnju na omjere radnika i umirovljenika. Projekcije koje i danas manje više vrijede su da bi 2020. u Americi omjerio bio oko 3 radnika za svakog umirovljenika, Njemačkoj 3 ili niže, a Japanu čak samo 2. U Hrvatskoj danas, ne u 2020., taj omjer je 1.4!

UPDATE – Donji članak iz WSJ baziran je na nizu radova Prof. Ehrlich-a i njegovih kolega na Sveučilištu Buffalo o mirovinskim sustavima, posljedicama, utjecajima i otvorenim pitanjima. Neke radove o pitanjima mirovinskih sustava možete pronaći na posvećnoj web stranici Prof. Ehrlich-a. Također, molim vas pogledajte njegov komentar na dnu ovog posta gdje ističe još više radova novijeg datuma i njegovu stranicu na RePEc. Gary Becker-a, nadam se, ne treba previše prezentirati, ipak, njegova RePEc stranica je ovdje.

Social security: Foreign lessons

By Gary S. Becker and Isaac Ehrlich

Wall Street Journal – Mar 30, 1994

Social security — once widely regarded as
the diadem of the modern welfare state — has lost much of its glitter
in recent years. This is largely because the systems in the U.S. and
many other Western countries are facing major financial problems — not
this year or in the next few, but sometime early in the next century.

The difficulties are not an inevitable outcome of the basic concept,
but rather of the way it has been implemented. Western countries have
by and large adopted a defined-benefits pay-as-you-go system in which
the benefits to retirees are paid from concurrent contributions by
active workers. Asian countries, by contrast, have relied much less on
such systems.

Hong Kong and Taiwan so
far have had no mandatory pension schemes; South Korea has only
recently introduced a modest one; while Singapore, Malaysia, and 20
other Asian countries have relied mainly on a central provident fund.
This is a fully funded forced-savings plan that ties retirees’ benefits
to their own contributions. These contributions are accumulated in
individualized accounts managed by the government.

Chile and a few other countries have also adopted systems that mandate
contributions to individual accounts. In these retirement protection
systems, private funds compete for the right to manage individual
accounts. Since these systems have the advantage of competition among
private companies, they are superior to government-managed central
provident fund systems, which are in turn much better than
pay-as-you-go systems.

If workers
contribute 10% of their earnings during their working lives, they can
build up a substantial nest egg in a retirement protection system. For
example, a 3% real rate of return on savings for a period of 40 years
will ensure a pension after retirement of almost two-thirds of annual
real earnings for the subsequent 15 years. This 10% contribution is
only two-thirds of the current combined contribution by employers and
employees to Social Security in the U.S.

The government should have the obligation to add to the retirement
incomes of people who have not built up a sufficient fund over their
working lives to stay above the poverty level in retirement. This
obligation to provide a safety net for older people explains why it may
be desirable to mandate worker contributions. A mandate prevents young
people from neglecting to provide for their old age when they can count
on the government to help them out if they lack sufficient savings when
they are old.

Pay-as-you-go systems,
unlike fully funded plans, provide benefits to the elderly that are
tied not strictly to their own lifetime contributions, but mainly to
taxes on younger generations of active workers. These systems depend
critically on the support ratio — the number of people in the prime
labor-force-participation age groups of 20 to 64 available to support
the pensions of those age 65 and over. These support ratios have been
falling throughout the developed world

In the U.S. the ratio has declined from 7.1 in 1950 to 4.7 in 1990, and
it is expected to drop to 3.3 in the year 2020. In West Germany the
rate is expected to fall to under 3 in 2020, and in Japan it may reach
as low as 2.

The support ratio has
declined partly because adult mortality has fallen, and partly because
birth rates are now very low. The average couple in most rich countries
produces fewer than two children; in Germany, Japan and some others, it
produces only about 1.5 children.

aging of the population implies that growing government spending would
be required to finance the cost of any given level of per-capita
benefits to retired people. As a result, higher taxes will have to be
imposed on relatively fewer workers. All the projections suggest that
unless benefit levels are reduced significantly, by the year 2025
government spending on social security will increase greatly as a
fraction of national output in the U.S. and other rich countries. In
the early 1970s it was estimated that a tax rate of 65% on earnings
would be needed in Chile to produce the full menu of mandated benefits
to the elderly. No wonder Chile went on to pioneer the privatization of
a pay-as-you-go system into a retirement protection system.

Quite apart from their financial difficulties, pay-as-you-go systems
also hurt the real economy.
The underlying philosophy of these systems
is that society can behave like an extended family in which parents,
children and grandchildren engage in mutually beneficial transfers. But
in a family setting, different generations share in the industriousness
and productivity of one another. Parents’ old-age pleasure and material
comfort are directly linked to the productivity and success of
themselves and their children and grandchildren, while children are
also helped by the parents. A pay-as-you-go system does not have this

Parents’ social security
entitlements are largely independent of their own contributions to the
social fund, and they are entirely independent of their children’s
contributions. This encourages families to decrease the support they
provide each other, and rely instead on government aid. It also
encourages reductions in birth rates, since parents become less
dependent on their own children for old-age support. But this decline
in family size puts further strains on the financial health of a
pay-as-you-go system.

Neither the
adverse financial consequences nor the harmful real effects of the
pay-as-you-go system need occur under fully funded schemes.
retirement payments are proportional to the worker’s accumulated
contributions, and the accumulated reserves are invested in financial
instruments that tend to yield a competitive rate of return, these
systems do not have the same effect on birth rates and aggregate
economic performance. Trends in fertility and longevity may still
affect market interest rates earned on deposits, but they do not have
other direct effects on fully funded schemes.

To ensure the success of a private system, it is desirable to leave the
business of management to private annuity companies that compete for
customers with their pension products. Governments should monitor the
behavior of these funds and require minimum levels of capital. The main
deficiency of a Singapore-style central provident fund is that the
government becomes a major investor and owner of private equity, since
it manages huge accumulating balances.

The evolution of the Singaporean central provident fund provides an
instructive lesson. The mandated combined contributions of employees
and employers rose to a peak of 50% of earnings in 1984, and are
currently set at the still exorbitant level of 40%. This
government-monopolized system has yielded a real return to workers of
only 2% a year from 1961 to 1992 — much less than what private equity
markets yielded in Singapore or elsewhere in Asia.

With the government running out of profitable investment options, a
partial privatization has already taken place in Singapore. Workers are
allowed to withdraw increasing amounts of their accumulated balances
prior to retirement for housing, education and health outlays, and more
recently also for investment in stocks, bonds and even gold.

A privately managed retirement system may seem wholly impractical and
out of touch with political reality. But this is precisely what Chile
has been doing for 13 years, since people there became fed up with the
public system. Several private funds actively compete in Chile for the
right to manage the savings that workers are required to put aside for
their old age. Government regulations require private management funds
to have minimum capitalization, and they limit investments to
particular categories of securities.

Although expenses were high during the early years in Chile, they have
fallen sharply over time as experience with the system has grown. The
inflation-adjusted annual rate of return on investments from 1981 to
1990 was more than 12%. And the pensions awarded so far under this
system have been generous compared with those offered by the old system.

Gradual Integration

Hong Kong’s 1992 draft proposal to establish a community-wide
retirement protection system is similar in spirit to the Chilean
system, but the government recently turned away from this promising
idea by proposing instead a pay-as-you-go system. Fortunately, mounting
public criticism may still revive the earlier plan. A few other
countries have either introduced a Chilean-style system or are
considering doing so.

Of course, older
workers in the U.S. who have been contributing to the traditional
Social Security system for many years will have to be gradually
integrated into a privatized system. Chile offered older workers the
option of either remaining in the pay-as-you-go system or transferring
into the privatized system and receiving a bond valued in proportion to
their accumulated past contributions. The transition there went
smoothly — perhaps because the bond values were rather generous — and
practically all older workers opted out of the traditional system.

The U.S. has done little to privatize its state enterprises. Its
privatization movement should begin with one of America’s most
significant industries: provision of security for elderly people.

Mr. Becker, 1992 Nobel Prize winner in economics, is a professor at the
University of Chicago and a fellow at the Hoover Institution. Mr.
is a professor at the University of Buffalo and visiting
professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Gore je stara afilijacija iz 1994. Sadašnja afilijacija prof. Ehrlicha je:

Dr. Isaac Ehrlich, SUNY & UB Distinguished Professor
and Chair of Economics, Melvin H. Baker Professor of
American Enterprise, Director, Center of Human Capital,
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Human Capital,
Research Associate, NBER

4 komentara to “Mirovinski tsunami – Becker & Ehrlich (UPDATE)”

  1. “No wonder Chile went on to pioneer the privatization of a pay-as-you-go system into a retirement protection system.”

    Trebalo bi provjeriti, ali nisam baš siguran da je Čile prešao na sustav individualne štednje zato jer su oni nešto tamo računali i bili kako piše u članku “fed up” sa starim sustavom kako piše u članku. Naime Čile je sedamdesetih, nakon pada Allendea, bio poligon za “Chichago boys” i Friedmanove ideje o privatizaciji svega i svačega.

    Neke stvari nisu ni privatizirali (rudnici bakra), neke su privatizirali pa su se predomislili, a nešto je i ostalo. To sa penzijama.

    Mislim da sam čitao da puno ljudi tamo nema nikakav penzijski plan, tj. ne štede ništa. Stvari su rijetko crno-bijele. Nažalost trenutno stvarno nemam vremena da ovo sve provjerim i potkrijepim linkovima.

  2. Ima zanimljivih clanaka o balkanu i istocnoj europi

    Failure to save East Europe will lead to worldwide meltdown


    Le Monde: Austrijski bankarski divovi u borbi za opstanak


  3. The work on social security which you cite is based on a series of articles by

    Professor Isaac Ehrlich

    SUNY and UB Distinguished Professor of Economics, Melin H. Chair of American Enterprise,
    Director, Center of Human Capital
    State University of New York at Buffalo
    Research Associate, NBER
    Editor, Journal of Human Capital
    Isaac Ehrlich’s web page on social security:

    Selected articles:

    “Social Security and the Real Economy: An Inquiry into Some neglected Issues” (with J. Zhong), American Economic Review (May 1998).

    “Social Security, the Family, and Economic Growth” (with F. Lui), Economic Inquiry (July 1998).
    Social Security: From Pay-As-You-Go Systems to an Individual-Based Capitalization System” (text in English; title in Spanish: Prevision social: de los regimens de reparto a los de capitalizacion individual). Published as part of a three articles series (“Conferencias”).Revista de Ciencias Empresariales Y Economia, vol 2 (2003).

    Social Security, Demographic Trends, and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence from the International Experience with Jinyoung Kim; NBER Working Paper w 11121, February 2005

    “Has Social Security influenced family formation and fertility in OECD countries? An economic and econometric analysis”, with Jinyoung Kim, Journal of Pharmaceuticals Policy and Law, Vol. 9, 2007,

    “Social Security and Demographic trends: Theory and Evidence from the International Experience”, with Jinyoung Kim, Review of Economic Dynamics, Vol. 10 (1) 2007, 55-77.

    Also see newspaper articles on Ehrlich’s work

    Social Security: Foreign Lessons (with Gary S. Becker), lead editorial page article Wall Street Journal, March 30, 1994
    — Reprinted in: Asian Wall Street Journal, March 31, 1994.

    “Social Security: hinders growth of families”, article in USA Today (Society for the Advancement of Education), May 2005. See: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2720_133/ai_n13683419

    “Study finds Social Security discourages marriage, having children”, May 12, 2005, at


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