Events at CERGE-EI

Thursday, 17 October, 2019 | 16:00 | Macro Research Seminar

Christian Moser, Ph.D. (Columbia Business School) “Optimal Paternalistic Savings Policies”

Christian Moser, Ph.D.

Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York, USA


Authors: Christian Moser and Pedro Olea de Souza e Silva

Abstract: We study optimal savings policies when there is a dual concern about undersaving for retirement and income inequality. Agents differ in present bias and earnings ability, both unobservable to a planner with paternalistic and redistributive motives. We characterize the solution to this two-dimensional screening problem and provide a decentralization using realistic policy instruments: mandatory savings at low incomes but a choice between subsidized savings vehicles at high incomes—resembling Social Security, 401(k), and IRA accounts in the US. Offering more savings choice at higher incomes facilitates redistribution. To solve large-scale versions of this problem numerically, we propose a general, computationally stable, and efficient active-set algorithm. Relative to the current US retirement system, we find significant welfare gains from increasing mandatory savings and limiting savings choice at low incomes.

Full Text: “Optimal Paternalistic Savings Policies”