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Should Social Security Benefits Be Means Tested?

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  • Feldstein, Martin S

Abstract

Social-security retirement benefits distort the saving decisions of workers who are rational enough to save for their future. Since the implicit rate of return in an unfunded social-security program is less than the marginal product of capital, the resulting decline in saving causes a welfare loss. The present paper examines the conditions under which the welfare loss can be reduced by replacing the current universal social-security program with a means-tested program that pays benefits only to those individuals with little or no other retirement income or assets. Copyright 1987 by University of Chicago Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 95 (1987)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 468-84

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:95:y:1987:i:3:p:468-84

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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Cited by:
  1. Miles, David K & Sefton, James, 2002. "Optimal Social Security Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3290, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Herbert Emery & Jesse Matheson, 2011. "Should Income Transfers be Targeted or Universal? Insights from Public Pension Influences on Elderly Mortality in Canada," Working Papers 2011-02, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 01 Jan 2011.
  3. Amihai Glazer & Charles Lave, 1994. "How Regulations Can Succeed Where Taxes Do Not: An Examination of Automobile Fuel Efficiency," Public Economics 9406002, EconWPA.
  4. Martin Feldstein, 2005. "Rethinking Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11250, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Docquier, Frederic, 2002. "On the optimality of public pensions in an economy with life-cyclers and myopes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 121-140, January.
  6. David M. Cutler & Louise Sheiner, 1994. "Policy Options for Long-Term Care," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 395-442 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Powers, Elizabeth T., 1998. "Does means-testing welfare discourage saving? evidence from a change in AFDC policy in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 33-53, April.
  8. Jakob von Weizsäcker, 2003. "The Hayek Pension: An efficient minimum pension to complement the welfare state," CESifo Working Paper Series 1064, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Sheiner, Louise, 1994. "Marginal Tax Rates and Health Care Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(3), pages 497-517, September.
  10. Frank N. Caliendo, 2009. "Is Social Security behind the Collapse of Personal Saving?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2746, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Barrientos, Armando, 2012. "What is the Role of Social Pensions in Asia?," ADBI Working Papers 351, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  12. Simonovits, András, 2011. "When are voluntary pensions indifferent?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(2), pages 155-157, May.
  13. Braun, R. Anton & Kopecky, Karen A. & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2013. "Old, sick, alone, and poor: a welfare analysis of old-age social insurance programs," Working Paper 2013-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  14. Richard Disney, 2005. "Household Saving Rates and the Design of Social Security Programmes: Evidence from a Country Panel," CESifo Working Paper Series 1541, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. David Neumark & Elizabeth Powers, 1996. "Consequences of means testing Social Security: evidence from the SSI program," Working Paper 9618, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

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