- 滋賀大学経済学部研究年報 (ISSN:13411608)
- vol.20, pp.23-40, 2013
In discussing the issue of intergenerational equity, use of what is known as generationalaccounting, which aims to quantify the state of such equity, is expected to play a role. Forgenerational accounting to convey information on intergenerational equity in an accurate, easy-to-understand manner, one must not only pay attention to the figures but also share an understanding of the methodology, including the meaning of estimate outcomes as well as the merits and limitations of generational accounting. In this thesis, we will take an overview of the criticisms of generational accounting introduced by Laurence Kotlikoff, and look at the methodological developments in recent studies made in response to such criticisms. As for Kotlikoff's generational accounting, several criticisms have been made, including 1)past benefits and burdens for current generations are not factored in and comparison can be made only between the generation aged zero today and future generations; 2)asymmetric assumptions are made in that" only future generations will bear the burden of resolving the outstanding deficits; and 3)the net burden for future generations is shown only as an average figure for the entire future generations. Recent studies have responded to such criticisms in three lines of approaches: 1)expanding the scope to include past benefits and burdens; 2)employing the so-called sustainability gap, which looks at the present value of long-run fiscal deficits; and 3)expanding the discussion by breaking down the future generations. In addition to such methodological sophistications, researchers have made various other efforts to respond to criticisms, such as improving on the assumptions on interest rates and growth rates. As we have seen so far, a number of criticisms have been leveled at Kotlikoff's generational accounting as to his methods and assumptions, but recent studies have made various methodological advances in response to such criticisms. I believe that we can ensure the effectiveness of generational accounting in conveying information regarding intergenerational equity in an accurate, easy-to-understand manner by understanding the methods andassumptions involved in generational accounting and by appropriately selecting such methods and assumptions.