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The effect of means-tested income support for the elderly on pre-retirement saving: evidence from the SSI program in the U.S

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  • Neumark, David
  • Powers, Elizabeth

Abstract

We attempt to draw inferences about potential behavioral responses to means-tested" income support for the elderly by examining the effects on saving of the Supplemental Security" Income (SSI) program for the aged in the U.S. Part of the SSI program provides payments to the" poor elderly, thus operating as a means-tested public retirement program. The federal" government sets eligibility criteria and benefit levels for the federal component of the program but many states supplement federal SSI benefits substantially. We exploit the state-level" variation in SSI benefits to estimate the effects of SSI on saving. We use data from selected" waves of the 1984 Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP). We find evidence that high" SSI benefits reduce saving among households with heads who are approaching the SSI eligibility" age and who are likely participants in the program.
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Suggested Citation

  • Neumark, David & Powers, Elizabeth, 1998. "The effect of means-tested income support for the elderly on pre-retirement saving: evidence from the SSI program in the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 181-206, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:68:y:1998:i:2:p:181-206
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    2. Mitchell, Olivia S & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1996. "Social Security Privatization: A Structure for Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 363-367, May.
    3. Poterba, James M & Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1994. "Targeted Retirement Saving and the Net Worth of Elderly Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 180-185, May.
    4. David Neumark & Elizabeth Powers, "undated". "Means Testing Social Security," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-24, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. Powers, Elizabeth T., 1998. "Does means-testing welfare discourage saving? evidence from a change in AFDC policy in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 33-53.
    6. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1998. "Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 575-609.
    7. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1993. "A Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," NBER Working Papers 4454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nancy Jianakoplos & Paul Menchik & Owen Irvine, 1989. "Using Panel Data to Assess the Bias in Cross-sectional Inferences of Life-Cycle Changes in the Level and Composition of Household Wealth," NBER Chapters,in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 553-644 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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