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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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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Lalive & Arvind Magesan & Stefan Staubli, 2020. "The Impact of Social Security on Pension Claiming and Retirement: Active vs. Passive Decisions," NBER Working Papers 27616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Yanying Chen & Yi Jin Tan, 2018. "The effect of non-contributory pensions on labour supply and private income transfers: evidence from Singapore," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 7(1), pages 1-54, December.
    3. Goodman-Bacon, Andrew & Schmidt, Lucie, 2020. "Federalizing benefits: The introduction of Supplemental Security Income and the size of the safety net," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    4. Saporta-Eksten, Itay & Shurtz, Ity & Weisburd, Sarit, 2020. "Social Security, Labor Supply and Health of Older Workers: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Large Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 13263, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Malkova, Olga, 2020. "Did Soviet elderly employment respond to financial incentives? Evidence from pension reforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 182(C).
    6. Morrill, Melinda Sandler & Westall, John, 2019. "Social security and retirement timing: evidence from a national sample of teachers," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 549-564, October.
    7. Isaiah Andrews & Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2018. "On the Informativeness of Descriptive Statistics for Structural Estimates," NBER Working Papers 25217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Alexander M. Gelber & Damon Jones & Daniel W. Sacks & Jae Song, 2020. "The Employment Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," NBER Working Papers 26696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. José Luis Iparraguirre, 2020. "Economics and Ageing," Springer Books, Springer, number 978-3-030-29019-1, December.
    10. Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2020. "Historical Natural Experiments: Bridging Economics and Economic History," NBER Working Papers 26754, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Galofré Vilà, Gregori, 2020. "Quantifying the impact of aid to dependent children: An epidemiological framework⁎," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    12. Lalive, Rafael & Magesan, Arvind & Staubli, Stefan, 2020. "The Impact of Social Security on Pension Claiming and Retirement: Active vs. Passive Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 13537, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Daniel K. Fetter, 2016. "Local Government and Old-Age Support in the New Deal," NBER Working Papers 22760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Malkova, Olga, 2019. "Did Soviet Elderly Employment Respond to Financial Incentives? Evidence from Pension Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 12790, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Rafael Lalive, Arvind Magesan, Stefan Staubli, 2020. "The Impact of Social Security on Pension Claiming and Retirement: Active vs. Passive Decisions," Cahiers de recherche / Working Papers 4, Institut sur la retraite et l'épargne / Retirement and Savings Institute.
    16. Elliott Isaac, 2018. "Suddenly Married: Joint Taxation And The Labor Supply Of Same-Sex Married Couples After U.S. v. Windsor," Working Papers 1809, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    17. Jäger, Philipp, 2019. "The introduction of social pensions and elderly mortality: Evidence 1870-1939," Ruhr Economic Papers 808, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Arthur Seibold, 2019. "Reference Points for Retirement Behavior: Evidence from German Pension Discontinuities," CESifo Working Paper Series 7799, CESifo.
    19. Giesecke, Matthias & Jäger, Philipp, 2020. "Pension incentives and labor supply: Evidence from the introduction of universal old-age assistance in the UK," Ruhr Economic Papers 844, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    20. Jäger, Philipp & Giesecke, Matthias, 2019. "Pension Incentives and Labor Force Participation: Evidence from the Introduction of Universal Old-Age Assistance in the UK," Annual Conference 2019 (Leipzig): 30 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - Democracy and Market Economy 203498, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    21. Isaiah Andrews & Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2020. "Transparency in Structural Research," NBER Working Papers 26631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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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