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"Will Social Security Be There For You?": How Americans Perceive Their Benefits

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  • Jeff Dominitz
  • Charles F. Manski
  • Jordan Heinz

Abstract

Americans may be uncertain of their future Social Security benefits for several reasons, including uncertainty about their future labor earnings, the formula now determining Social Security benefits, and the future structure of the Social Security system. To learn how Americans perceive their benefits, we have elicited Social Security expectations from respondents to the Survey of Economic Expectations. We have also performed a more intensive face-to-face survey on a small sample of respondents. We find clear and striking evidence of substantial uncertainty and heterogeneity of beliefs about the long-term existence of the Social Security system and about the level of benefits provided should the system survive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9798.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9798

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  1. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco & Francisco J. Gomes & Pascala J. Maenhout, 2000. "Investing Retirement Wealth? A Life-Cycle Model," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1896, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," NBER Working Papers 4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dominitz, Jeff, 2001. "Estimation of income expectations models using expectations and realization data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 165-195, June.
  4. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Perceptions of Economic Insecurity: Evidence from the Survey of Economic Expectations," NBER Working Papers 5690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2001. "Imperfect Knowledge, Retirement and Saving," NBER Working Papers 8406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Manski, C.F., 1989. "The Use Of Intentions Data To Predict Behaviour : A Best- Case Analysis," Working papers 8905, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  7. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Eliciting Student Expectations Of The Returns To Schooling," Econometrics 9411002, EconWPA.
  8. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Martin Feldstein & Elena Ranguelova & Andrew Samwick, 2001. "The Transition to Investment-Based Social Security When Portfolio Returns and Capital Profitability Are Uncertain," NBER Chapters, in: Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform, pages 41-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Social Security Benefits: An Empirical Study of Expectations and Realizations," NBER Working Papers 2257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John McHale, 1999. "The Risk of Social Security Benefit Rule Changes: Some International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  13. Jeff Dominitz, 1998. "Earnings Expectations, Revisions, And Realizations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 374-388, August.
  14. John Y. Campbell & Martin Feldstein, 2001. "Risk Aspects of Investment-Based Social Security Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number camp01-1, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Richard Blundell & Marco Francesconi & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2011. "Anatomy of Welfare Reform Evaluation:Announcement and Implementation Effects," Economics Discussion Papers 698, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. Louis Kaplow, 2011. "Targeted savings and labor supply," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 507-518, October.
  3. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Disney, Richard, 2007. "Population ageing and the size of the welfare state: Is there a puzzle to explain?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 542-553, June.
  5. Adeline Delavande, 2008. "Pill, Patch, Or Shot? Subjective Expectations And Birth Control Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 999-1042, 08.
  6. Louis Kaplow, 2010. "Targeted Savings and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 15656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. van der Wiel, Karen, 2008. "Preparing for Policy Changes: Social Security Expectations and Pension Scheme Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 3623, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Myopia and the Effects of Social Security and Capital Taxation on Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 12452, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Helen Levy & Kristin Seefeldt, 2008. "How Do Lower-Income Families Think about Retirement?," Working Papers wp195, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  10. Richard Disney, 2006. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Design of Public Pension Programmes," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(2), pages 175-195.
  11. Richard Disney, 2005. "Household Saving Rates and the Design of Social Security Programmes: Evidence from a Country Panel," CESifo Working Paper Series 1541, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. repec:ese:iserwp:2004-15 is not listed on IDEAS

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