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Framing Effects and Expected Social Security Claiming Behavior

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  • Jeffrey R. Brown
  • Arie Kapteyn
  • Olivia S. Mitchell

Abstract

Eligible participants in the U.S. Social Security system may claim benefits anytime from age 62-70, with benefit levels actuarially adjusted based on the claiming age. This paper shows that individual intentions with regard to Social Security claiming ages are sensitive to how the early versus late claiming decision is framed. Using an experimental design, we find that the use of a “break-even analysis” has the very strong effect of encouraging individuals to claim early. We also show that individuals are more likely to report they will delay claiming when later claiming is framed as a gain, and when the information provides an anchoring point at older, rather than younger, ages. Moreover, females, individuals with credit card debt, and workers with lower expected benefits are more strongly influenced by framing. We conclude that some individuals may not make fully rational optimizing choices when it comes to choosing a claiming date.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17018.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Publication status: published as 5. Brown, J.R., Kapteyn, A., and Mitchell, O., “Framing and Claiming: How Information-Framing Affects Social Security Claiming Behavior”, The Journal of Risk and Insurance, 2014, forthcoming .
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17018

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  1. H. Benitez-Silva & F. Heiland, 2008. "Early claiming of social security benefits and labour supply behaviour of older Americans," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(23), pages 2969-2985.
  2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Jeffrey R. Kling & Sendhil Mullainathan & Marian V. Wrobel, 2008. "Why Don’t People Insure Late-Life Consumption? A Framing Explanation of the Under-Annuitization Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 304-09, May.
  3. Julie R. Agnew & Lisa R. Anderson & Jeffrey R. Gerlach & Lisa R. Szykman, 2008. "Who Chooses Annuities? An Experimental Investigation of the Role of Gender, Framing, and Defaults," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 418-22, May.
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Cited by:
  1. John Payne & Namika Sagara & Suzanne Shu & Kirstin Appelt & Eric Johnson, 2013. "Life expectancy as a constructed belief: Evidence of a live-to or die-by framing effect," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 27-50, February.
  2. Jingjing Chai & Raimond Maurer & Olivia Mitchell & Ralph Rogalla, 2013. "Exchanging Delayed Social Security Benefits For Lump Sums: Could This Incentivize Longer Work Careers?," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 13-009, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.
  4. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  5. John B. Shoven & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2013. "Recent Changes in the Gains from Delaying Social Security," NBER Working Papers 19370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jeffrey B. Liebman & Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 2011. "Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence From a Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 17287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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