Date of Award

1-13-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. James R. Alm - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Jorge L. Martinez-Vazquez

Third Advisor

Dr. Sally Wallace

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Erdal Tekin

Fifth Advisor

Dr. David P. Richardson

Abstract

Despite abundant studies of the application of pension systems in developed countries, little work has been done on how to apply a sustainable pension system in developing countries. The set-up of pension systems in developed countries and developing countries are expected to be different because in developing countries, labor is concentrated in the informal production sectors, while labor in developed countries is concentrated in the formal production sectors. Informal production sectors are sectors where the government, either central or local government, has little access to implement fiscal policies (taxes and subsidies) on firms and labor. This research develops a comprehensive system on how to set-up pension policies generally in developing countries and specifically in Indonesia. The basic set-up of the pension system suggested in this dissertation is as follows: a short run consumption tax policy to finance a defined benefit plan to support minimum physical needs of the older population, a medium run labor income tax policy to finance individuals' defined contribution fully funded savings plan, and a long run skilled labor creation through university education so that individuals are able to self-finance their own pension savings through the fully funded savings plan. The defined benefit plan is important because it can serve as a societal redistribution tool, while the defined contribution plan serves as a household savings tool. In addition, the skilled labor creation serves as a supporting tool so that the pension program is sustained in the long run. A theoretical model is developed from Auerbach and Kotlikoff overlapping generation (OLG) computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and specified for the Indonesian economy by introducing heterogeneity in households, where skilled and unskilled labor exist. In writing the model in terms of computer language, we apply an approach named mathematical programming system for general equilibrium analysis (MPSGE), developed by Thomas Rutherford. Some parameters used in the model are estimated by using econometric methods. The OLG-CGE model is applied in order to analyze the impact of consumption taxes and pension taxes on labor supply and also to calculate the equivalent variation of the distribution of consumption taxes burden across generations. Meanwhile, the impact of skilled labor creation on economic growth is calculated by applying linear algebra. The main macroeconomy data is taken from the Indonesian social accounting matrix (SAM) year 2000. Meanwhile, labor data are taken from the Indonesian labor conditions 1998-2003. The findings in this dissertation are as follows: for the equivalent variations, the consumption taxes for USD 1, USD 2, and USD 3 cash transfers per day person gave more benefit to the skilled labor than to the unskilled ones. In the meantime, the consumption taxes for USD 1 cash transfer gave incentives to the highest amount of labor, both skilled and unskilled labor, to work in the formal sector. The amount of labor after the consumption taxes for USD 1 cash transfer is higher than the initial condition. Increasing the consumption taxes for the USD 2 cash transfer only decreased the amount of labor work in the formal sector, with the amount of skilled labor decreased more than the unskilled labor. In addition, increasing the consumption taxes for the USD 3 cash transfer would also decrease the amount of labor work in the formal sector, with the amount of unskilled labor decreased more than skilled labor. We also find that the elasticity of government education expenditures on skilled labor creation is roughly 0.3. This means that if the Indonesian central government would like to eliminate the informal sector by 25 percent within 20 years, or an average 1.25 percent annually, they should increase the government education expenditures to 8 percent of total annual government budget. Other findings are that the increase of skilled labor would contribute positively to Indonesian economic growth, while the consumption taxes and the fully funded pension taxes would be likely to reduce current economic growth but increase the future one. Finally, these are the theoretical contributions to public finance literature: first, given dual formal and informal labor sectors present in an economy, where the latter is dominant, taxation of expenditures is preferred to taxation of income because the first may induce labor to work in the formal sector; second, given dual formal and informal labor sectors present in an economy, where the latter is dominant, there exists an optimal rate of consumption taxes that provides incentives for the highest amount of labor, skilled and unskilled labor, to work in the formal sector.

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