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.
Population aging puts significant pressure on social security systems that are based mainly on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) formula and determined by the political process in which both retirees and future retirees participate. This paper demonstrates that in an economic and demographic steady state, majoritarian democracy overspends on social security. It then shows that in case of demographic shock, the regular majority process can be paralyzed by the development of entrenched interest groups that could lose from majority decisions. Depending on the way these entrenched interests operate, they can be judged more or less desirable from the viewpoint of social justice.