Social Security and the Provision of Retirement Income

Larry Willmore

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs


Social security is increasingly debated in terms of alleged effects of
public pensions on economic efficiency. The author reviews the history
and rationale for public provision of retirement income, then argues that
the efficiency effects of such schemes are negligible. Social security
reform in itself is not likely to generate increased savings or growth; it is
essentially a zero sum game in which some participants gain at the
expense of others. Arguments for reform of social security masquerade
as economics, while in reality they are political arguments for changing
the distribution of costs and benefits.

ISSN 1367-580x.

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