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Government Old-Age Support and Labor Supply: Evidence from the Old Age Assistance Program

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  • Daniel K. Fetter
  • Lee M. Lockwood

Abstract

Many government programs transfer resources to older people and implicitly or explicitly tax their labor. We shed new light on the labor supply and welfare effects of such programs by investigating the Old Age Assistance Program (OAA). Exploiting the large differences in OAA programs across states and Census data on the entire US population in 1940, we find that OAA reduced the labor force participation rate among men aged 65-74 by 8.5 percentage points, more than one-half of its 1930-1940 decline, but that OAA's implicit taxation of earnings imposed only small welfare costs on recipients.

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  • Daniel K. Fetter & Lee M. Lockwood, 2018. "Government Old-Age Support and Labor Supply: Evidence from the Old Age Assistance Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(8), pages 2174-2211, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:8:p:2174-2211
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20160921
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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