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Do the Elderly Respond to Taxes on Earnings? Evidence from the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test

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  • David S. Loughran
  • Steven Haider

Abstract

The effective tax on earnings embodied in the Social Security retirement earnings test has been as high as 50 percent. Despite numerous empirical studies, there is surprisingly little agreement about whether the earnings test affects male labor supply. In this paper, the authors provide a comprehensive analysis of the earnings test for men using longitudinal administrative earnings data and more commonly used survey data. They find that much of the response in survey data is obfuscated by measurement error and labor market rigidities. Their results suggest a consistent and substantial response to the earnings test, especially for younger men.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2007/RAND_WR223-1.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 223-1.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:223-1

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References

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  1. Richard Disney & Sarah Smith, 2002. "The Labour Supply Effect of the Abolition of the Earnings Rule for Older Workers in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C136-C152, March.
  2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steimeier, 2004. "The Social Security Retirement Earning Test,Retirement and Benefit Claiming," Working Papers wp090, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Burkhauser, Richard V & Turner, John A, 1978. "A Time-Series Analysis on Social Security and Its Effect on the Market Work of Men at Younger Ages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 701-15, August.
  4. Michael D. Hurd, 1993. "The Effect of Labor Market Rigidities on the Labor Force Behavior of Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 4462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Leora Friedberg, 1999. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," NBER Working Papers 7200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Emmanuel Saez, 1999. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," NBER Working Papers 7366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Reimers, Cordelia & Honig, Marjorie, 1993. "The Perceived Budget Constraint under Social Security: Evidence from Reentry Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 184-204, January.
  9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1991. "Changing the Social Security rules for work after age 65," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 733-745, July.
  10. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1982. "Minimum Hours Constraints and Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Shelly J. Lundberg, 1984. "Tied Wage-Hours Offers and the Endogeneity of Wages," NBER Working Papers 1431, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Bound, John & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "The Extent of Measurement Error in Longitudinal Earnings Data: Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24, January.
  13. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1985. "The 1983 Social Security Reforms and Labor Supply Adjustments of Older Individuals in the Long Run," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 237-53, April.
  14. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2006. "Social Security's delayed retirement credit and the labor supply of older men," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "How do retirement tests affect the labour supply of older men?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 27-51, January.
  16. Jonathan Gruber & Peter Orszag, 2000. "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?," NBER Working Papers 7923, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. David A. Wise, 1996. "Advances in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise96-1.
  18. Gruber, Jonathan & Orszag, Peter, 2003. "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(4), pages 755-73, December.
  19. repec:att:wimass:9430 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  21. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-36, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lucie Schmidt & Purvi Sevak, 2006. "Taxes, Wages, and the Labor Supply of Older Americans," Working Papers wp139, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  2. Bruce Fallick & Jonathan Pingle, 2006. "A cohort-based model of labor force participation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Kumar, Anil, 2009. "The repeal of the retirement earnings test and the labor supply of older men," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(04), pages 429-450, October.
  4. Pierre-Carl Michaud & Arthur vanSoest, 2006. "How Did the Elimination of the Earnings Test Above the Normal Retirement Age Affect Retirement Expectations?," Working Papers wp135, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  5. Bo MacInnis, 2009. "Social Security and the Joint Trends in Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt Among Older Men," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-22, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2009.
  6. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2006. "Persistence in Labor Supply and the Response to the Social Security Earnings Test," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-27, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2006.

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