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Welfare for the Elderly: The Effects of SSI on Pre-Retirement Labor Supply

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  • David Neumark
  • Elizabeth Powers

Abstract

The elderly are one of the exceptional groups in American society with access to a significant cash safety net, a means-tested program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Little attention has been paid to the pre-eligibility-age labor market disincentives created by such a program. In particular, asset and income limits might induce individuals nearing the eligibility age to work less. There is little if any hard evidence on such incentive effects. We exploit variation in states' supplementation of the federal SSI benefit to estimate the effects of the SSI program on pre-retirement labor supply, using data from the 1984, 1990, and 1991 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. We find some evidence that generous SSI benefits reduce the pre-retirement labor supply (and earnings) of men who are likely to participate in SSI after retirement as they near the eligibility age, especially that of men who have reached the age of eligibility for early Social Security benefits, which may be used to offset their reduced labor income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6805.

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Date of creation: Nov 1998
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6805

Note: AG LS PE
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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  3. Mitchell, Olivia S & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1996. "Social Security Privatization: A Structure for Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 363-67, May.
  4. Neumark, David & Powers, Elizabeth, 1998. "The effect of means-tested income support for the elderly on pre-retirement saving: evidence from the SSI program in the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 181-206, May.
  5. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  6. Johnson, Richard W & Neumark, David, 1996. "Wage Declines among Older Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 740-48, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Susan Thorp & Hardy Hulley & Rebecca McKibbin & Andreas Pedersen, 2009. "Means-Tested Income Support, Portfolio Choice And Decumulation In Retirement," CAMA Working Papers 2009-12, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. Monika Butler & Kim Peijnenburg & Stefan Staubli, 2011. "How Much Do Means-Tested Benefits Reduce the Demand for Annuities?," Working Papers 418, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Cagri Seda Kumru & John Piggott, 2010. "Should Public Retirement Pensions Be Means-tested?," DEGIT Conference Papers c015_049, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  4. Elizabeth T. Powers & David Neumark, 2003. "The Supplemental Security Income Program and Incentives to Claim Social Security Retirement Early: Empirical Evidence from Matched SIPP and Social Security Administrative Files," Working Papers wp036, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  5. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2001. "The Effects of Welfare and Tax Reform: The Material Well-Being of Single Mothers in the 1980s and 1990s," NBER Working Papers 8298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Neumark & Elizabeth T. Powers, 2005. "The Effects of Changes in State SSI Supplements on Preretirement Labor Supply," Public Finance Review, , vol. 33(1), pages 3-35, January.
  7. Gasche, Martin & Lamla, Bettina, 2012. "Erwartete Altersarmut in Deutschland: Pessimismus und Fehleinschätzungen – Ergebnisse aus der SAVE-Studie," MEA discussion paper series 12264, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  8. Hardy Hulley & Rebecca Mckibbin & Andreas Pedersen & Susan Thorp, 2013. "Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 31-51, 03.
  9. Elizabeth Powers & David Neumark, 2001. "The Supplemental Security Income Program and Incentives to Take Up Social Security Early Retirement: Empirical Evidence from Matched SIPP and Social.," NBER Working Papers 8670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. David Neumark & Elizabeth T. Powers, 2006. "SSI, Labor Supply, and Migration," Working Papers 050628, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  11. Richard Johnson, 2000. "The effect of old-age insurance on male retirement : evidence from historical cross-country data," Research Working Paper RWP 00-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  12. John Piggott & Renuka Sane, 2011. "The Impact on Residential Choice of the Family Home Exemption in Resource-Tested Transfer Programs," Working Papers 201112, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
  13. David Neumark & Elizabeth Powers, 2006. "Supplemental security income, labor supply, and migration," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 447-479, July.

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