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Administrative Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform

Social security reform in the United States continues to be a pressing and contentious issue, with advocates touting some form of a centralized or a privatized system of personal accounts. In general, centralized systems offer low administrative costs, but are potentially subject to political mismanagement and appropriation. Privatized account systems, on the other hand, offer higher yields with more flexibility, but may prove too expensive and logistically daunting to implement. Uniting learned and outspoken proponents on both sides of the debate, this volume provides the first comprehensive analysis of the issues involved in administering a system of essentially private social security accounts. The contributors together come to startlingly similar conclusions, generally agreeing that a centralized system of accounts could deliver the benefits of privatization in a feasible and cost-efficient way by accessing administrative mechanisms already in existence. This is perhaps the most far-reaching synthesis yet envisioned of functional and implementable social security reform.

236 pages | 2 line drawings, 31 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2000

National Bureau of Economic Research Conference Report

Economics and Business: Economics--General Theory and Principles

Table of Contents

John B. Shoven
1. Reforming Social Security: A Practical and Workable System of Personal Retirement Accounts
Fred T. Goldberg Jr. and Michael J. Graetz
Comment: Gloria M. Grandolini
2. Administering a Cost-Effective National Program of Personal Security Accounts
Sylvester J. Schieber and John B. Shoven
Comment: Olivia S. Mitchell
Discussion Summary for Chaps. 1 and 2
3. Mutual Funds and Institutional Investments: What Is the Most Efficient Way to Set Up Individual Accounts in a Social Security System?
Estelle James, Gary Ferrier, James Smalhout, and Dimitri Vittas
Comment: David A. Wise
Discussion Summary
4. Administrative Costs and Equilibrium Charges with Individual Accounts
Peter Diamond
Comment: Martin Feldstein
Discussion Summary
5. The Costs of Annuitizing Retirement Payouts from Individual Accounts
James M. Poterba and Mark J. Warshawsky
Comment: David M. Cutler
Discussion Summary
6. Panel Session: Industry Perspectives
Robert Pozen, Joel M. Dickson, F. Gregory Ahern, Frederick L. A. Grauer, and Shaun Mathews
Discussion Summary

Author Index
Subject Index

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