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Essays on Dynamic Macroeconomics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

My thesis consists of three papers in macroeconomics.

“Why do Europeans Work so Little?” concerns labor supply. Market work per person is roughly 10 percent higher in the U.S. than in Sweden. However, if we include the work carried out in home production, the total amount of work only differs by 1 percent. I set up a model with home production, and show that differences in policy - mainly taxes - can account for the discrepancy in labor supply between Sweden and the U.S. Moreover, even though the elasticity of labor supply is rather low for individual households, labor taxes are estimated to be associated with considerable output losses. I also show that policy can account for the falling trend in market work in Sweden since 1960. The largest reduction occurs from 1960 until around 1980, both in the model and the data. This is also the period when taxes were increased the most. After the early 1980s, the trends for both taxes and actual hours worked are basically flat. This is also true for hours worked in the model.

“Social Security and the Equity Premium Puzzle” shows that social security may be an important factor in explaining the equity premium puzzle. In the absence of shortselling constraints, the young shortsell bonds to the middle-aged and buy equity. Social security reduces the bond demand of the middle-aged, thereby restricting the possibilities of the young to finance their equity purchases. They demand less equity and the average return to equity goes up. Social security also increases the covariance between future consumption and the equity income of the young. The effect on the equity premium is substantial. In fact, a model with social security and borrowing constraints can generate a fairly realistic equity premium.

“The Welfare Gains of Improving Risk Sharing in Social Security” shows that improved intergenerational risk sharing in social security may imply very large welfare gains, amounting to up to 15 percent of the per-period consumption relative to the current U.S. consumption. Improved risk sharing raises welfare through a direct effect, i.e., by correcting an initially inefficient allocation of risk, and through a general equilibrium (GE) effect. The GE effect is due to the fact that the allocation of risk in the pay-as-you-go system influences the demand for capital. As a result, with an efficient risk sharing arrangement, the crowding out effect associated with an unfunded system can actually be completely eliminated. Efficient risk sharing in social security implies highly volatile and pro-cyclical benefits, i.e., that retirees' exposure to productivity risk is increased.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutet för internationell ekonomi , 2004. , 80 p.
Monograph series / Institute for International Economic Studies, University of Stockholm, ISSN 0346-6892 ; 48
Keyword [en]
Labor supply, home production, the equity premium puzzle, social security, intergenerational risk sharing
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145ISBN: 91-7265-861-4OAI: diva2:190105
Public defence
2004-05-26, hörsal 5, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2004-05-05 Created: 2004-05-05Bibliographically approved

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