Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The social security earnings test and work incentives

Contents:

Author Info

  • Hugo Ben�tez-Silva

    (SUNY-Stony Brook)

  • Frank Heiland

    (Florida State University, Tallahassee)

Abstract

The labor supply and benefit claiming incentives provided by the early retirement rules of the Social Security Old Age benefits program are of growing importance as the Normal Retirement Age (NRA) increases to 67, the labor force participation of Older Americans rises, and a variety of reforms to the Social Security system are considered. Any reform needs to take into account the effects and rationale of the Social Security Earnings Test and the Actuarial Adjustment Factor, which are likely to be widely misunderstood due to the relatively little attention paid by policymakers and researchers to the fact that Americans are willing to work while receiving benefits. We describe these incentives and emphasize that individuals who claim benefits before the NRA but continue to work, or return to the labor force, can reduce the early retirement penalty by suspending the collection of monthly benefits if they earn above the Earnings Test limit. We then argue that the Earnings Test can be distortionary and is costly to administer, and that these characteristics are inflated by the lack of information given to Older Americans regarding the consequences of working while receiving retirement benefits. We present results from statistical models of labor force exit behavior using data from the Health and Retirement Study showing the relevance of these incentives, and investigate the importance of informational asymmetries among beneficiaries regarding benefit withholding using a dynamic life-cycle model of labor supply and benefit claiming. We then use the latter framework to compare the behavioral and welfare implications of a removal of the Earnings Test to the policy of providing more information regarding the Earnings Test and the adjustment of the rate of benefit pay to Older Americans. © 2007 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20264
File Function: Link to full text; subscription required
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 527-555

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:26:y:2007:i:3:p:527-555

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

Related research

Keywords:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2000. "Non Random Selection in the HRS Social Security Earnings Sample," Working Papers 00-01, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
  3. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer & Frank Heiland & Warren C. Sanderson, 2006. "Retirement and Social Security Reform Expectations: A Solution to the New Early Retirement Puzzle," Department of Economics Working Papers 06-05, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  4. Honig, Marjorie & Reimers, Cordelia, 1989. "Is It Worth Eliminating the Retirement Test?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 103-07, May.
  5. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2007. "Do better–informed workers make better retirement choices? A test based on the Social Security Statement," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 51, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  6. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "How do retirement tests affect the labour supply of older men?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 27-51, January.
  7. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-36, April.
  8. Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika Sunden, 1999. "Workers' knowledge of their pension coverage: a reevaluation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-05, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  10. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "The Social Security Earnings Test and Labor Supply of Older Men," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 121-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alan S. Blinder & Alan B. Krueger, 2004. "What Does the Public Know about Economic Policy, and How Does It Know It?," NBER Working Papers 10787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Honggao Cao & Daniel H. Hill, 2005. "Knowledge and Preference in Reporting Financial Information," Working Papers wp100, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  13. Mark E. Votruba, 2003. "Social Security and Retirees' Decision to Work," Working Papers 853, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. Leora Friedberg, 1999. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," NBER Working Papers 7200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1991. "Changing the Social Security rules for work after age 65," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 733-745, July.
  16. H. Benitez-Silva & F. Heiland, 2008. "Early claiming of social security benefits and labour supply behaviour of older Americans," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(23), pages 2969-2985.
  17. Mitchell, Olivia S, 1988. "Worker Knowledge of Pension Provisions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 21-39, January.
  18. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Debra Sabatini Dwyer & Warren Sanderson, 2006. "A Dynamic Model of Retirement and Social Security Reform Expectations: A Solution to the New Early Retirement Puzzle," Working Papers wp134, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  19. Cordelia Reimers & Marjorie Honig, 1996. "Responses to Social Security by Men and Women: Myopic and Far-Sighted Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 359-382.
  20. Jonathan Gruber & Peter Orszag, 2000. "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?," NBER Working Papers 7923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Reimers, Cordelia & Honig, Marjorie, 1993. "The Perceived Budget Constraint under Social Security: Evidence from Reentry Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 184-204, January.
  22. Jonathan Gruber & Peter Orszag, 1999. "What To Do About The Social Security Earnings Test?," Issues in Brief ib-1, Center for Retirement Research.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Na Yin, 2007. "An Empirical Study of the Effects of Social Security Reforms on Claming Behavior and Benefits Receipt Using Aggregate and Public-Use Administrative Micro Data," Department of Economics Working Papers 07-05, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  2. Hugo Benitez-Silva & J. Ignacio Garcia-Perez & Sergi Jimenez-Martin Author-Email: sergi.jimenez@upf.edu, 2012. "The Effects of Employment Uncertainty and Wealth Shocks on the Labor Supply and Claiming Behavior of Older American Workers," Department of Economics Working Papers 12-12, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  3. Selo Imrohoroglu, 2011. "Social Security, Benefit Claiming, and Labor Force Participation: A Quantitative General Equilibrium Approach," 2011 Meeting Papers 215, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Kudrna, George & Woodland, Alan, 2011. "An inter-temporal general equilibrium analysis of the Australian age pension means test," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 61-79, March.
  5. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer & Frank Heiland & Warren C. Sanderson, 2006. "Retirement and Social Security Reform Expectations: A Solution to the New Early Retirement Puzzle," Department of Economics Working Papers 06-05, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  6. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Frank Heiland, 2008. "Early Retirement, Labor Supply, and Benefit Withholding: The Role of the Social Security Earnings Test," Working Papers wp183, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  7. Judit Vall Castello, 2010. "Promoting Employment of Disabled Women in Spain; Evaluating a Policy," Working Papers 2010-10, FEDEA.
  8. 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.
  9. Silva, José I. & Vall-Castello, Judit, 2012. "Why Are So Many Disabled Individuals Not Working in Spain? A Job Search Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 6317, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:26:y:2007:i:3:p:527-555. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.