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Public pensions and labor supply over the life cycle

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  • Eric French
  • John Bailey Jones

Abstract

Virtually all developed countries face projected budget shortfalls for their public pension programs. The shortfalls arise for two reasons. First, populations in developed countries are aging rapidly. Second, until recently older individuals in developed countries have been retiring earlier. These two developments have created serious strains on public pension programs. In order to remain fiscally solvent, many governments have reformed their public pension schemes to encourage labor supply at older ages. These reforms include reductions in the generosity of public pensions and reduced penalties for working past the normal retirement age. In this paper, we consider how reforms to public pension systems affect labor supply over the life cycle. We put the recent empirical evidence on the effect of government pensions on labor supply in a life cycle context, and we present evidence on the effectiveness of tax reforms for stimulating labor supply over the life cycle. Our main conclusion is that the labor supply of older workers is responsive to changes in retirement incentives. The labor supply of younger workers is less responsive. Thus the trend towards lower taxes on older workers in many developed countries is likely to continue to fuel the recent trend towards later retirement. This, in turn, is likely to reduce the financial strain on public pension schemes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-09.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-09

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Keywords: Labor supply ; Pensions ; Retirement;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. European Commission, 2013. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2013 Report," Taxation Papers 38, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  2. Vogel, Edgar & Ludwig, Alexander & Börsch-Supan, Axel, 2013. "Aging and Pension Reform: Extending the Retirement Age and Human Capital Formation," MEA discussion paper series 12257, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  3. Peter Haan & Victoria Prowse, 2011. "Longevity, Life-Cycle Behavior and Pension Reform," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 396, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

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