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An inter-temporal general equilibrium analysis of the Australian age pension means test

By George Kudrna and Alan Woodland


The Australian age pension is somewhat unusual among developed countries in that it is means tested against both the claimant's income and assets. While means testing of age pensions facilitates the aims of directing public pensions to those senior individuals most in need and of containing pension expenditures by governments, it also has the effect of changing the incentives of individuals to work and save. This paper examines the implications of the Australian means tested age pension for incentives of individuals to save and work, for government financial commitments and for the welfare of individuals. To this end, we develop an overlapping generations model of the Australian economy that incorporates the essential features of the Australian pension, superannuation and taxation policy settings and use it to explore the implications of several hypothetical policy changes that relax the means test of the age pension. Our results confirm that the existing means-tested, age pension represents a disincentive for some older Australians to work.Retirement Pension reform Means test Dynamic OLG model

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