Full text: Capital Gains, Pension Funds and

4 
stringent recently (Munnel 1987).In fact the employers 
contributions have declined absolutely from 1981 to 1987 by 
almost $10 billion;since they would normally be expected to 
rise roughly in the same proportion as the national wage 
bill we should have expected the contributions to be $ 90 
billion instead of 50 billion in 1987 so that they have 
relatively speaking declined by $40 billion. A.Munnel gives 
an estimate of $30 billion up to 1980 (Munnel 1987). This 
caused a corresponding decline in personal saving as shown 
by NIPA. If we add to this the spurious decline on account 
of the excess of benefits over investment income (see 
above) we get $ 60 to 75 billion which corresponds to about 
2 to 2.5 per cent of disposable income.To this extent the 
reduction in the saving ratio is thus explained by factors 
which have nothing to do with the propensity to save in the 
accustomed sense. On the face of it you would say that the 
reduction in contributions has shifted saving from the 
household to the corporate sector. But the point is really 
that the whole change has been caused by the overfunding of 
the pension funds whose realised capital gains have been 
shifted to the corporation in form of reduced 
contributions.The question may be left open what the 
corporation does with it:Whether they keep it,or pay it out 
as dividends which partly becomes consumption,or whether 
they pass it on in form of reduced prices (with constant 
mark up,in Kaleckian fashion) which leads to increased 
consumption ultimately financed by the capital gains.The 
genuine saving is therefore considerably higher than an
	        

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