Ýmrohoroðlu, Ýmrohoroðlu and Joines [1995, A life-cycle analysis of Social Security, Economic Theory, vol. 6, 83-114] show that the optimal replacement ratio of the payas-you-go public pension system in the US economy amounts to 30%. We extend their analysis to a model that 1) replicates the empirical wage heterogeneity, 2) endogenizes the individual's labor supply decision and 3) accounts for contributions-defined pensions of the US social security system. With these more realistic modifications, the optimal replacement ratio is found to amount to approximately 5% and to be insensitive with regard to the aging of the US population; however, lower productivity growth would result in higher optimal pension payments. In addition, the optimal pension scheme is found to be more progressive than the present US pension system.
optimal social security progressive pensions income and wealth distribution demographic transition