The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper explores whether changes in the age distribution have significant effects on financial markets that are rational and forward-looking. It presents an overlapping generations model in which agents make a portfolio decision over stocks and bonds when saving for retirement- Using the model to simulate a baby boom-baby bust demonstrates that returns to baby boomers will be substantially below returns to earlier generations, even when markets are rational and forward-looking. This result is important because the current debate over how to reform pay-as-you-go pension systems often takes historical returns on financial assets—and on the equity premium—as given.