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Intergenerational Smoothing of New Zealand's Future Fiscal Costs

Publication Details

  • Intergenerational Smoothing of New Zealand's Future Fiscal Costs
  • Published: 16 Jul 2013
  • Status: Current
  • Pages: (2),iii,24
  • ISBN: 978-0-478-40351-0 (Online)
  • Ref. No: WP 13/12
  • Pub. type: Working Papers
  • Copyright: © Crown Copyright
  • JEL Classification: D31; D32; J18; E21

Intergenerational Smoothing of New Zealand's Future Fiscal Costs

Published 16 Jul 2013

Author: Ross Guest


This paper applies an overlapping generations model in order to evaluate the implications of intergenerational smoothing of New Zealand's future fiscal costs. The analysis complements the New Zealand fiscal projections of Bell et al. (2010) and the New Zealand tax smoothing analysis in Davis and Fabling (2002). It allows for feedback effects of the tax rate on labour supply through both intratemporal and intertemporal effects which in turn feed back to fiscal projections via taxation revenue. Under Treasury's sustainable debt projections, which implies convergence to a stable 20% net debt to GDP ratio, generations born prior to 1990 are worse off and those born after 2000 are better off (measured by the impact on their remaining lifetime income). However, the magnitudes of the impact on the remaining lifetime income of all generations are small – no greater that 0.7% under the Medium demographic scenario. Those born around 1960 fare the worst, while those born after 2020 fare the best. The losses to current generations are weighed up against the gains to future generations through the social welfare function. The results show that net social gains are possible provided the gains to future generations are given sufficient weight by a low rate of social time preference and a high rate of aversion to variability in aggregate consumption over time. The parameter values required to generate net social gains are close to the bounds of plausible values. The magnitudes of the net social gains/losses range from minus $90 to plus $94 per capita per year.

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Executive Summary

1 Introduction

2 Intergenerational distribution of the national consumption burden of ageing through fiscal policy

3 The simulation model

4 Data and parameters

5 Simulation results

6 Conclusion


Appendix A - The Simulation Model

twp13-12.pdf (501 KB) pp. 1–24


The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the author(s). They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury or the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in these working papers. The paper is presented not as policy, but with a view to inform and stimulate wider debate.

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