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The repeal of the retirement earnings test and the labor supply of older men

  • ENGELHARDT, GARY V.
  • KUMAR, ANIL

This paper examines the impact of the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act of 2000, which abolished the Social Security retirement earnings test for those aged 65-69, on the labor supply of older men using data from the 1996-2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Based on reduced-form specifications, we find that the repeal of the earnings test increased labor supply on the intensive margin by 12-17%, the bulk of which was concentrated among men with a high-school degree, whose labor supply rose by 19-26%. We formulate a unique test for endogenous reporting of health status by examining how reported health changes with the repeal of the earnings test. We find some evidence of endogenous self-reported health status. In particular, older men were substantially less likely to have reported that health limits their ability to work after, relative to before the earnings test repeal, with the bulk of the effect concentrated among men with high-school degrees, who had the largest labor-supply response to the repeal.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of Pension Economics and Finance.

Volume (Year): 8 (2009)
Issue (Month): 04 (October)
Pages: 429-450

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jpenef:v:8:y:2009:i:04:p:429-450_00
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  1. Jerry A. Hausman, 1980. "The effect of wages, taxes, and fixed costs on women's labor force participation," NBER Chapters, in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 161-194 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2006. "Robust Inference with Multi-way Clustering," NBER Technical Working Papers 0327, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  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. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  6. Alan Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, . "Retirement Measures in the Health and Retirement Survey," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. David S. Loughran & Steven Haider, 2007. "Do the Elderly Respond to Taxes on Earnings? Evidence from the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test," Working Papers 223-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  8. David Card, 1990. "Labor Supply with a Minimum Hours Threshold," Working Papers 642, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Leora Friedberg, 1999. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," NBER Working Papers 7200, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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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