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Peter A. Diamond

Peter Diamond is John and Jennie S. McDonald Professor of Economics at MIT. He received the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Titles by This Author

In this book, Peter Diamond analyzes social security as a particular example of optimal taxation theory. Assuming a world of incomplete markets and asymmetric information, he uses a variety of simple models to illuminate the economic forces that bear on specific social security policy issues. The focus is on the degree of progressivity desirable in social security and the design of incentives to delay retirement beyond the earliest age of eligibility for benefits. Before analyzing these models, Diamond presents introductions to optimal income tax theory and the theory of incomplete markets. He incorporates recent theoretical developments such as time-inconsistent preferences into his analyses and shows that distorting taxes and a measure of progressivity in benefits are desirable. Diamond also discusses social security reform, with a focus on Germany.

Titles by This Editor

Report of an Expert Panel of the National Academy of Social Insurance

Two types of changes to Social Security have been proposed. One would keep the current defined-benefit structure but build and maintain a larger trust fund, to be partially invested in stocks and corporate bonds. The other would set up individual funded accounts, also to be partially invested in private markets. Both would raise taxes or lower benefits in the near term to increase funds for paying future benefits.

This study addresses many important aspects of these politically charged proposals. The questions discussed include: Should Social Security have more advance funding? Should Social Security funds be invested in the stock market? If investments are organized by the government, what independent institutions would shield portfolio decisions and corporate governance from political pressures? If investments are privately organized, what would be the regulatory structure? Finally, should Social Security include individual defined-contribution accounts or stay with traditional defined benefits?

The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to conduct research on and enhance public understanding of social insurance, to develop new leaders, and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on issues related to social insurance.

Essays to Celebrate Bob Solow's Birthday

Robert Solow received the Nobel Prize in economics in 1987, and his contributions to growth theory, productivity, and short run macroeconomics have influenced an entire generation of scholars. The essays in this book extend and elaborate on many of the important ideas Solow has either originated or developed in the past three decades.Frank Hahn and Avinash Dixit offer useful surveys of the growth literature. Hahn reflects on specific problems in standard growth models, while Dixit presents a chronological review of research developments. Robert Hall and Lawrence Summers present challenging empirical findings. Hall shows that the Solow productivity residual is in fact correlated with variables which, according to Solow's assumptions, it should not be correlated with. Summers uses multi-country data to investigate the apparent divergence between private and social rates of return to capital. He argues that this phenomenon stems from the dependence of the rate of technical progress on the rate of capital formation and discusses the policy implications of this idea. Olivier Jean Blanchard and Peter Diamond describe a search-matching model that is a welcome addition to understanding the Beveridge curve. Also included are comments by Eytan Shoshinski, Joseph Stiglitz, Martin Baily, William Nordhaus, George Aherlot, and Robert Gorden. Robert Solow has provided a response to both the essays and these comments. The book concludes with a bibliography of Solow's work.Peter Diamond is John and Jennie S. McDonald Professor of Economics at MIT.