skip to content

Samwick, Andrew

Works: 57 works in 336 publications in 1 language and 2,320 library holdings
Roles: Author, Honoree
Classifications: HB1, 368.4300973
Publication Timeline
Publications about Andrew Samwick
Publications by Andrew Samwick
Most widely held works by Andrew Samwick
Discount rate heterogeneity and social security reform by Andrew Samwick( Book )
13 editions published in 1997 in English and held by 95 libraries worldwide
As many countries consider the privatization of existing pay-as-you-go Social Security systems, the option to make participation in the new system voluntary may appeal to policy makers who need to obtain the political support of their workers. A critical issue in evaluating such a reform and its economic consequences is the unobserved heterogeneity in households' preferences for consumption. This paper estimates the distribution of rates of time preference from the wealth data in the Survey of Consumer Finances 1992 and a flexible life-cycle model of consumption under income uncertainty. The estimated distribution is then applied to a variety of reform proposals that incorporate a voluntary choice of how much to contribute to a dedicated retirement account and a rebate of the existing payroll tax that increases with the magnitude of the contribution. The main finding is that an appropriate menu of reform plans can induce the voluntary buy out of 84 percent of existing payroll taxes at an immediate cost to national saving of less than 0.25 percentage point
New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement by Andrew Samwick( Book )
14 editions published in 1998 in English and held by 89 libraries worldwide
Using a unique dataset that links the economic and demographic information of households with the details of their pension formulas, I estimate the combined effect of Social Security and pension benefits on the probability of retirement in a cross-section of the population near retirement age. The accrual rate of retirement wealth is shown to be a significant determinant of the probability of retirement. Simulations of extensions in pension coverage comparable to those that occurred in the early postwar period can account for one fourth of the contemporaneous decline in labor force participation rates
The economics of prefunding social security and medicare benefits by Martin S Feldstein( Book )
12 editions published in 1997 in English and held by 88 libraries worldwide
This paper presents a detailed analysis of the economics of prefunding benefits for the aged, focusing on Social Security but indicating some of the analogous magnitudes for prefunding Medicare Benefits. We use detailed Census and Social Security information to model the transition to a fully funded system based on mandatory contributions to individual accounts. The funded system we examine would permanently maintain the level of benefits now specified in current law and would require no new government borrowing (other than eventually selling the bonds in the Social Security trust fund). During the transition, the combined rate of payroll tax and mandatory saving rises at first by 2 percentage points (to a total of 14.4 percent) and then declines so that in less than 20 years it is less than the current 12.4 percent payroll tax. We estimate the impact of such prefunding on the growth of the capital stock and the level of national income and show that the combination of higher pretax wages and lower payroll taxes could raise wages net of income and payroll taxes by more than 35 % in the long run. We also discuss distributional issues and the way that the poor can be at least as well off as under Social Security. A stochastic simulation shows that a small increase in the mandatory saving rate would reduce the risk of receiving less than the scheduled level to less than one percent. Separate calculations are presented of the value of the 'forward-looking recognition bonds' and 'backward-looking recognition bonds' which the government might issue if it decides not to pay future social security benefits explicitly
The transition path in privatizing social security by Martin S Feldstein( Book )
12 editions published in 1996 in English and held by 84 libraries worldwide
Abstract: This paper analyzes the transition from the existing pay-as-you-go Social Security program to a system of funded Mandatory" Individual Retirement Accounts (MIRAs). Because of the high return on real capital relative to the very low return in a mature pay-as-you-go program, the benefits that can be financed with the existing 12.4 percent payroll tax could eventually be funded with mandatory contributions of only 2.1 percent of payroll. A transition to that fully funded program could be done with a surcharge of less than 1.5 percent of payroll during the early part of the transition. After 25 years, the combination of financing the pay-as-you-go benefits and accumulating the funded accounts would require less than the current 12.4 percent of payroll. The paper also discusses how a MIRA system could deal with the benefits of low income employees and with the risks associated with uncertain longevity and fluctuating market returns
Abandoning the nest egg? : 401(k) plans and inadequate pension saving by Andrew Samwick( Book )
22 editions published in 1996 in English and Undetermined and held by 82 libraries worldwide
There has been rapid growth in self-directed' pension programs such as the 401(k) plan. Because such plans are voluntary, there is concern that many workers neglecting to contribute will reach retirement with inadequate pension saving. First, we show that people who are eligible for 401(k)s, do not contribute to them, and have no alternative pension plan make up only 2-4 percent of the workforce. By contrast, nearly 50 percent of workers have no pension coverage at all. Imposing mandatory 3 percent or 5 percent contribution rates will improve retirement prospects among the lowest decile of pension- eligible, but would have small aggregate effects. Finally, restricting 401(k) withdrawals when the worker changes jobs could have a larger impact on retirement pension security
How important is precautionary saving? by Chris Carroll( Book )
14 editions published between 1993 and 1995 in English and held by 79 libraries worldwide
We estimate the fraction of the wealth of a sample of PSID respondents that is held because some households face greater income uncertainty than others. We first derive an equation characterizing the theoretical relationship between wealth and uncertainty in a buffer-stock model of saving. Next, we estimate that equation using PSID data; we find strong evidence that households engage in precautionary saving. Finally, we simulate the wealth distribution that would prevail if all households had the same uncertainty as the lowest-uncertainty group. We find that between 39 and 46 percent of wealth in our sample is attributable to uncertainty differentials across groups
The transition to investment-based social security when portfolio returns and capital profitability are uncertain by Martin S Feldstein( Book )
13 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 79 libraries worldwide
In this paper we study the transition from a pay-as-you-go system of Social Security pensions to an investment-based system in an economy in which portfolio returns and capital profitability are both uncertain. The paper extends earlier studies by Feldstein and Samwick that modeled the transition process in a nonstochastic environment and by Feldstein and Ranguelova that examined the implication of portfolio risk after the transition to an investment-based system has been completed. We analyze transitions to a mixed system that maintains the current 12.4 percent pay-as-you-go tax rate as well as to a system that is completely investment-based. We model intergenerational guarantees and assess the risk of such guarantees to taxpayers. We find that transitions to either a completely investment-based system or a mixed system that maintains current law benefits can be done with little additional saving in the early years (a maximum of three percent) and substantially lower combinations of taxes and saving deposits in the later years. The extra risk to retirees and/or taxpayers is relatively small, making the investment-based plans preferable to a pure pay-as-you-go system for reasonable degrees of risk aversion
Tax reform and target saving by Andrew Samwick( Book )
12 editions published in 1998 in English and held by 77 libraries worldwide
If the United States switched to a broad-based consumption tax, than all forms of saving would enjoy the tax-preferred status reserved primarily for retirement saving vehicles under the current income tax system. Because pensions have other unique characteristics besides their tax advantage, current results on the effect of pensions on saving may provide an unreliable guide to the saving response to fundamental tax reform. The net effect of reform on saving depends critically on household motives for saving. This paper documents the considerable variation in the reasons why households save and presents a buffer stock model of saving that allows for both life cycle and target saving. To the extent that specific targets that are not currently tax-favored motivate the saving of households in their preretirement years, fundamental tax reform that results in the elimination of current pension plans will reduce saving
Two percent personal retirement accounts : their potential effects on Social Security tax rates and national saving by Martin S Feldstein( Book )
10 editions published in 1998 in English and held by 76 libraries worldwide
The nature of precautionary wealth by Chris Carroll( Book )
13 editions published in 1995 in English and held by 72 libraries worldwide
This paper uses the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to provide some of the first direct evidence that wealth is systematically higher for consumers with greater income uncertainty. However, the apparent pattern of precautionary saving is not consistent with a standard parameterization of the life cycle model in which consumers are patient enough to begin saving for retirement early in life: wealth is estimated to be less sensitive to uncertainty in permanent income than implied by that model. Instead, our results suggest that over most of their working lifetime, consumers behave in accordance with the 'buffer-stock' models of saving described in Carroll (1992) or Deaton (1991), in which consumers hold wealth principally to insulate consumption against near term fluctuations in income
Allocating payroll tax revenue to personal retirement accounts to maintain social security benefits and the payroll tax rate by Martin S Feldstein( Book )
14 editions published in 2000 in English and held by 70 libraries worldwide
In an earlier paper we analyzed a method of combining traditional tax financed pay-as-you-go Social Security benefits with annuities financed by Personal Retirement Accounts. We showed that such a combination could maintain the level of retirement income projected in current Social Security law while avoiding a future increase in the payroll tax rate. The current paper extends the earlier analysis in four ways: (1) We now specify that the funds deposited in the Personal Retirement Accounts come from allocating 2 percent of the 12.4 percent payroll tax instead of being additional funds provided from outside the system. (2) We discuss the effects of the uncertain return on investment based annuities. (3) We provide estimates of the cost of permitting bequests if individuals die either before retirement or during the first twenty years after retirement. (4) We update the statistical basis for our estimates to be consistent with the 2000 Social Security Trustees Report. Our analysis shows that a program of Personal Retirement Accounts funded by allocating 2 percent of the 12.4 percent payroll tax collections can maintain the retirement income projected in current law while avoiding any increase in the 12.4 percent payroll tax. The combination of the higher return on the assets in the Personal Retirement Accounts and the use of the additional corporate profits taxes that result from the increased national saving in Personal Retirement Accounts is sufficient to maintain the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund even though the tax payments to the fund are reduced from 12.4 percent of taxable payroll to 10.4 percent of taxable payroll. Although there is a period of years when the Trust Fund must borrow, it is able to repay this borrowing with interest out of future tax collections. In the long run, the Trust Fund becomes very large, implying that it would be possible to reduce the payroll tax further or to increase retirement incomes above the levels projected in current law
Executive compensation, strategic competition, and relative performance evaluation : theory and evidence by Raj Aggarwal( Book )
12 editions published in 1996 in English and held by 70 libraries worldwide
Abstract: We argue that strategic interactions between firms in an oligopoly can explain the puzzling lack of high-powered incentives in executive compensation contracts written by shareholders whose objective is to maximize the value of their shares. We derive the optimal compensation contracts for managers and demonstrate that the use of high-powered incentives will be limited by the need to soften product market competition. In particular, when managers can be compensated based on their own and their rivals' performance, we show that there will be an inverse relationship between the magnitude of high-powered incentives and the degree of competition in the industry. More competitive industries are characterized by weaker pay-performance incentives. Empirically, we find strong evidence of this inverse relationship in the compensation of executives in the United States. Our econometric results are not consistent with alternative theories of the effect of competition on executive compensation. We conclude that strategic considerations can preclude the use of high-powered incentives, in contrast to the predictions of the standard principal-agent model
Taxation and household portfolio composition : U.S. evidence from the 1980's and 1990's by James M Poterba( Book )
14 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 70 libraries worldwide
This paper explores the relationship between household marginal income tax rates, the set of assets that households own, and the portfolio shares accounted for by each of these assets. It analyzes data from the 1983, 1989, 1992, and 1995 Surveys of Consumer Finances and develops a new algorithm for imputing federal marginal tax rates to households in these surveys. The empirical findings suggest that a household's marginal tax rate has an important effect its asset allocation decisions. The probability that a household owns tax-advantaged assets is strongly related to its tax rate on ordinary income. In addition, the amount of investment through tax-deferred accounts such as 401(k) plans and IRAs is an increasing function of the household's marginal tax rate. Holdings of corporate stock, which is taxed less heavily than interest bearing assets, and of tax-exempt bonds are also increasing in the household's marginal tax rate. Holdings of heavily taxed assets, such as corporate bonds and interest-bearing accounts, decline as a share of wealth as a household's marginal tax rate increases
Tax shelters and passive losses after the Tax Reform Act of 1986 by Andrew Samwick( Book )
12 editions published in 1995 in English and held by 68 libraries worldwide
The precipitous decline in tax sheltered investments after the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA) is widely attributed to the passive loss rules. These rules disallowed losses from activities in which the taxpayer did not materially participate as a current deduction against all sources of income except for other passive activities. This paper demonstrates instead that the role of the passive loss limitations was secondary to that of other reforms enacted by TRA, most importantly the repeal of the investment tax credit and the long-term capital gain exclusion. These other reforms not only lowered after-tax rates of return on tax sheltered investments but also eliminated the positive correlation between the investor's marginal tax rate and the investment's after-tax rate of return. As a result, high income taxpayers ceased to be the natural clientele for legitimate tax shelters after TRA. The passive loss rules were more effective in curtailing the use of 'abusive' tax shelters; however, it is shown that a more narrowly focused restriction on seller financing of tax sheltered investments could have accomplished the same goal with much less scope for discouraging productive economic investments
The other side of the tradeoff : the impact of risk on executive compensation by Raj Aggarwal( Book )
11 editions published in 1998 in English and held by 65 libraries worldwide
The principal-agent model of executive compensation is of central importance to the modern theory of the firm and corporate governance, yet the existing empirical evidence supporting it is quite weak. The key predication of the model is that the executive's pay-performance sensitivity is decreasing in the variance of the firm's performance. We demonstrate strong empirical confirmation of this prediction using a comprehensive sample of executives at large corporations. In general, the pay-performance sensitivity for executives at firms with the least volatile stock prices is an order of magnitude greater than the pay-performance sensitivity for executives at firms with the most volatile stock prices. This result holds for both chief executive officers and for other highly compensated executives. We further show that estimates of the pay-performance sensitivity that do not explicitly account for the effect of the variance of firm performance are biased toward zero. We also test for relative performance evaluation of executives against the performance of other firms. We find little support for the relative performance evaluation model. Our findings suggest that executive compensation contracts incorporate the benefits of risk-sharing but do not incorporate the potential informational advantages of relative performance evaluation
Household portfolio allocation over the life cycle by James M Poterba( Book )
13 editions published in 1997 in English and held by 63 libraries worldwide
In this paper, we analyze the relationship between age and portfolio structure for households in the US. We focus on both the probability that households of different ages own particular portfolio assets and the fraction of their net worth allocated to each asset category. We distinguish between age and cohort effects using data from the repeated cross-sections of the Federal Reserve Board's Surveys of Consumer Finances. We present two broad conclusions. First, there are important differences across asset classes in both the age-specific probabilities of asset ownership and in the portfolio shares of different assets at different ages. The notnion that all assets can be treated as identical from the standpoint of analyzing household wealth accumulation is not supported by the data. Institutional factors, asset liquidity, and evolving investor tastes must be recognized in modeling asset demand. These factors could affect analyses of overall household saving as well as the composition of this saving. Second, there are evident differences in the asset ownership probabilities of different birth cohorts. Currently, older households were more likely to hold corporate stock, and less likely to hold tax-exempt bonds, than younger households at any given age. These differences across cohorts are important to recognize when analyzing asset accumulation profiles
Potential paths of Social Security reform by Martin S Feldstein( Book )
12 editions published in 2001 in English and held by 61 libraries worldwide
This paper presents several alternative Social Security reform options in which the projected level of benefits for every future cohort of retirees is as high or higher than the benefits projected in current law. These future benefits can be achieved without any increase in the payroll tax or in other tax rates. Under each option, the Social Security Trust Fund is solvent and ends with a sustainable positive and growing balance. Each option combines the current pay-as-you-go system of defined benefits with an investment-based personal retirement account (PRA). Assets in the PRA can be bequeathed if the individual dies before normal retirement age. We also consider the option in which an individual can take all or part of his accumulated PRA balanced as a lump sum at normal retirement age. The basic plan that we present in greatest detail combines a transfer to the personal retirement account of a portion of the individual's payroll tax equal to 1.5 percent of earnings if the individual agrees to deposit an equal out-of-pocket amount. The additional national saving that results from this option leads to increased business investment and therefore to increased general tax revenue; a portion of that revenue, equal to 1 percent of the PRA balances , is transferred to the Social Security Trust Fund. The other options that we present include plans with no out-of-pocket contributions by individuals and others with no transfer of general revenue to the Trust Fund. We also discuss the implications of different rates of return on the PRA balances and, more generally, the issue of risk, including a market-based method of guaranteeing the real principal of all PRA deposits
How will defined contribution pension plans affect retirement income? by Andrew Samwick( Book )
7 editions published in 1998 in English and held by 60 libraries worldwide
Abstract: How has the emergence of defined contribution pension plans, such as 401(k)s, affected the financial security of future retirees? We consider this question using a detailed survey of pension formulas in the Survey of Consumer Finances. Our simulations show that average and median pension benefits are higher under defined contribution plans that for defined benefit plans. Defined benefit plans are slightly better at providing minimum benefits, but for plausible values of risk aversion, a defined contribution plan drawn randomly from those available in 1995 is still preferred to a defined benefit plan drawn randomly from those available in 1983. This result is robust to different assumptions regarding the spending of defined contribution balances between jobs, equity rates of return, and the date of retirement. In short, we suggest that defined contribution plans can strengthen the financial security of retirees
Performance incentives within firms : the effect of managerial responsibility by Raj Aggarwal( Book )
11 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 59 libraries worldwide
Empirical research on executive compensation has focused almost exclusively on the incentives provided to chief executive officers. However, firms are run by teams of managers, and a theory of the firm should also explain the distribution of incentives and responsibilities for other members of the top management team. An extension of the standard principal-agent model to allow for multiple signals of effort predicts that executives who have other, more precise signals of their effort than firm performance will have compensation that is less sensitive to the overall performance of the firm. We test this prediction in a comprehensive panel dataset of executives at large corporations by comparing executives with explicit divisional responsibilities to those with broad oversight authority over the firm and to CEOs. Controlling for executive fixed effects and the level of compensation, we find that CEOs have pay-performance incentives that are $5.85 per thousand dollar increase in shareholder wealth higher than the pay-performance incentives of executives with divisional responsibility. Executives with oversight authority have pay-performance incentives that are $1.26 per thousand higher than those of executives with divisional responsibility. The aggregate pay-performance sensitivity of the top management team is quite substantial, at $30.24 per thousand dollar increase in shareholder wealth for the median firm in our sample. Our work sheds light on the alignment of responsibility and incentives within firms and suggests that the principal-agent model provides an appropriate characterization of the internal organization of the firm
Empire-builders and shirkers : investment, firm performance, and managerial incentives by Raj Aggarwal( Book )
11 editions published in 1999 in English and held by 56 libraries worldwide
Do firms systematically over- or underinvest as a result of agency problems? We develop a contracting model between shareholders and managers in which managers have private benefits or private costs of investment. Managers overinvest when they have private benefits and underinvest when they have private costs. Optimal incentive contracts mitigate the over- or underinvestment problem. We derive comparative static predictions for the equilibrium relationships between incentives from compensation, investment, and firm performance for both cases. The relationship between firm performance and managerial incentives, in isolation, is insufficient to identify whether managers have private benefits or private costs of investment. In order to identify whether managers have private benefits or costs, we estimate the joint relationships between incentives and firm performance and between incentives and investment. Our empirical results show that both firm performance and investment are increasing in managerial incentives. These results are consistent with managers having private costs of investment. We find no support for overinvestment based on private benefits
moreShow More Titles
fewerShow Fewer Titles
Alternative Names
Andrew Samwick American economist
Andrew Samwick economista estadounidense
Samwick, A. A.
Samwick, Andrew A.
Samwick, Andrew Alan
English (251)
Close Window

Please sign in to WorldCat 

Don't have an account? You can easily create a free account.