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Social security and elderly homeownership

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  • Engelhardt, Gary V.
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    Abstract

    Over the last twenty-five years, the homeownership rate of households 65 years and older has risen steadily, while the homeownership rate for 35-64 year old households has remained relatively unchanged. At the same time, the real value of Social Security benefits has risen substantially. Using data from the March 1978 to 2001 Current Population Surveys, this paper documents the evolution and assesses the causal role of the Social Security program in increasing elderly homeownership. To isolate the causal effect, the analysis develops an instrumental-variable approach that relies on the large variation in benefits for birth cohorts from 1900 to 1930 due to double indexation of the system and the so-called Social Security "notch." For all elderly, the estimated elasticity of homeownership to Social Security benefits ranges from 0.26 to 0.49. Across marital groups, the widowed have the greatest responsiveness to benefits. Increases in benefits also increase household formation among the elderly. Overall, the estimates indicate that between half and as much as all of the time-series rise in elderly homeownership over the last twenty-five years can be attributable to the rise in Social Security benefits and suggest that reductions in benefits would alter homeownership among the elderly significantly.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WMG-4N9P4HG-1/2/05063166fddd397f92bc20545e094b53
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

    Volume (Year): 63 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 280-305

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:63:y:2008:i:1:p:280-305

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

    Related research

    Keywords: Social security Homeownership Household formation Aging Elderly;

    References

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    1. Dietz, Robert D. & Haurin, Donald R., 2003. "The social and private micro-level consequences of homeownership," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 401-450, November.
    2. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1991. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," NBER Working Papers 3699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jonathan Feinstein & Daniel McFadden, 1987. "The Dynamics of Housing Demand by the Elderly: Wealth, Cash Flow, and Demographic Effects," NBER Working Papers 2471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Green, Richard K. & Vandell, Kerry D., 1999. "Giving households credit: How changes in the U.S. tax code could promote homeownership," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 419-444, July.
    5. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
    6. Richard K. Green, 1995. "Should the Stagnant Homeownership Rate be a Source of Concern?," Wisconsin-Madison CULER working papers 95-06, University of Wisconsin Center for Urban Land Economic Research.
    7. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
    8. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1990. "But They Don’t Want to Reduce Housing Equity," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 13-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber & Cynthia D. Perry, 2005. "Social Security and Elderly Living Arrangements: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    10. John R. Moran & JKosali Ilayperuma Simon, 2006. "Income and the Use of Prescription Drugs by the Elderly: Evidence from the Notch Cohorts," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
    11. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "Aging, Moving, and Housing Wealth," NBER Working Papers 2324, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
    13. Megbolugbe, Isaac & Sa-Aadu, J. & Shilling, James D., 1999. "Elderly Female-Headed Households and the Decision to Trade Down," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 285-300, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Maria Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2010. "Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 643-663, March.
    2. Vere, James P., 2011. "Social Security and elderly labor supply: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 676-686, October.
    3. Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia, 2012. "Medicaid and the housing and asset decisions of the elderly: Evidence from estate recovery programs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 210-224.
    4. John Cawley & John Moran & Kosali Simon, 2010. "The impact of income on the weight of elderly Americans," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 979-993, August.
    5. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia, 2010. "Home health care and the housing and living arrangements of the elderly," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 226-238, March.

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