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The Effect of Means-Tested Income Support for the Elderly on Pre-Retirement Saving: Evidence from the SSI Program in the U.S

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  • David Neumark
  • Elizabeth Powers

Abstract

We attempt to draw inferences about potential behavioral responses to means-tested" income support for the elderly by examining the effects on saving of the Supplemental Security" Income (SSI) program for the aged in the U.S. Part of the SSI program provides payments to the" poor elderly, thus operating as a means-tested public retirement program. The federal" government sets eligibility criteria and benefit levels for the federal component of the program but many states supplement federal SSI benefits substantially. We exploit the state-level" variation in SSI benefits to estimate the effects of SSI on saving. We use data from selected" waves of the 1984 Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP). We find evidence that high" SSI benefits reduce saving among households with heads who are approaching the SSI eligibility" age and who are likely participants in the program.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6303.

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Date of creation: Dec 1997
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Publication status: published as Journal of Public Economics Published as "Is Job Stability Declining in the U.S. Economy?: Comment", Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 49, no. 2 (January 1996): 348-3 51.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6303

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  1. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1993. "A Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," NBER Working Papers 4454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nancy Jianakoplos & Paul Menchik & Owen Irvine, 1989. "Using Panel Data to Assess the Bias in Cross-sectional Inferences of Life-Cycle Changes in the Level and Composition of Household Wealth," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 553-644 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James P. Smith, 2004. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Labor and Demography 0408011, EconWPA.
  4. Olivia S. Mitchell & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1996. "Social Security Privatization: A Structure for Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," JCPR Working Papers 42, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. David Neumark & Elizabeth Powers, . "Means Testing Social Security," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-24, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Poterba, James M & Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1994. "Targeted Retirement Saving and the Net Worth of Elderly Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 180-85, May.
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