Differential Mortality by Income and Social Security Progressivity
AbstractThere is a widespread belief that people with low lifetime labor income have higher age specific mortality and lower remaining life expectancies at age 60 or 65 than those with middle or high lifetime earnings. In this paper, we assess the implications of differential mortality by lifetime income for Social Security progressivity. Social Security has a highly progressive formula to determine monthly benefits in that those with low lifetime earnings get a much higher replacement rate than those with high lifetime earnings. However, recent studies on the mortality gap by lifetime income suggest that at least some of this progressivity is counterbalanced by the longer average lifetimes experienced by higher lifetime income recipients of Social Security. To reassess the progressivity of Social Security, we calculate internal rates of return and net present values for the program under assumptions of differential mortality and compare these measures of progressivity to the same measures calculated assuming all individuals experience average population mortality rates. Under the assumption of constant mortality across lifetime income subgroups, the Social Security system is progressive regardless of the measure shown. However, a good deal of the progressivity is undone or even reversed when differential mortality is taken into account.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 08-061.
Date of creation: May 2009
Date of revision:
Social Security; Mortality Gap; Differential Mortality; Lifetime Income;
Other versions of this item:
- Gopi Shah Goda & John B. Shoven & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2011. "Differential Mortality by Income and Social Security Progressivity," NBER Chapters, in: Explorations in the Economics of Aging, pages 189-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Julia Lynn Coronado & Don Fullerton & Thomas Glass, 2000.
"The Progressivity of Social Security,"
NBER Working Papers
7520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John S. Greenlees & James E. Duggan & Robert Gillingham, 2007.
"Mortality and Lifetime Income: Evidence from U.S. Social Security Records,"
IMF Working Papers
07/15, International Monetary Fund.
- James E Duggan & Robert Gillingham & John S Greenlees, 2008. "Mortality and Lifetime Income: Evidence from U.S. Social Security Records," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 55(4), pages 566-594, December.
- Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002.
"Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System,"
in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 11-48
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," NBER Working Papers 8625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jeffrey B Liebman, 2002. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," Working Papers 02-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Garrett, Daniel M, 1995. "The Effects of Differential Mortality Rates on the Progressivity of Social Security," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 457-75, July.
- Julian P. Cristia, 2007. "The Empirical Relationship Between Lifetime Earnings and Mortality: Working Paper 2007-11," Working Papers 19096, Congressional Budget Office.
- Isabelle Joumard & Mauro Pisu & Debbie Bloch, 2012. "Tackling income inequality: The role of taxes and transfers," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2012(1), pages 37-70.
- Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2011.
"The Effects of Changes in Women's Labor Market Attachment on Redistribution Under the Social Security Benefit Formula,"
NBER Working Papers
17439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier & Nahid Tabatabai, 2011. "The Effects of Changes in Women’s Labor Market Attachment on Redistribution Under the Social Security Benefit Formula," Working Papers wp248, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne Shor).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.