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Social Security Incentives for Retirement

In: Themes in the Economics of Aging

  • Courtney Coile
  • Jonathan Gruber

We present a detailed analysis of the incentives that Social Security provides for continued work at older ages. We do so using information on older males from the Health and Retirement Study over the 1980-1997 period to calculate the changes in the present discounted value of Social Security entitlements from additional work at each age. We find that the median male worker faces a small tax on work at ages 55-61, a near zero tax at ages 62-64, and a large tax at ages 65-69. However, there is significant heterogeneity in tax rates. We also document significant non-monotonicities in the accrual of Social Security entitlements with additional work, and suggest a more appropriate measure of incentive effects that considers accruals over not just the next year but future years as well.

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This chapter was published in:
  • David A. Wise, 2001. "Themes in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise01-1, December.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10332.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10332
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Burtless, Gary, 1986. "Social Security, Unanticipated Benefit Increases, and the Timing of Retirement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(5), pages 781-805, October.
    2. David A. Wise & Robin L. Lumsdaine, 1990. "Aging and Labor Force Participation: A Review of Trends and Explanations," NBER Working Papers 3420, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 3962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gary S. Fields & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1982. "Economic Determinants of the Optimal Retirement Age: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 0876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1991. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," NBER Working Papers 3699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jerry A. Hausman & David A. Wise, 1985. "Social Security, Health Status, and Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 159-192 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
    8. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-80, September.
    10. Blau, David M, 1994. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 117-56, January.
    11. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 207-236, November.
    12. Kahn, James A., 1988. "Social security, liquidity, and early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 97-117, February.
    13. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "The Social Security Earnings Test and Labor Supply of Older Men," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 121-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Peter Diamond, 2004. "Social Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 1-24, March.
    15. Boskin, Michael J. & Hurd, Michael D., 1978. "The effect of social security on early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 361-377, December.
    16. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Bruce D. Meyer, 1989. "A Quasi-Experimental Approach to the Effects of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 3159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Courtney Coile & Peter Diamond & Jonathan Gruber & Alain Jousten, 1999. "Delays in Claiming Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 7318, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Diamond, Peter & Koszegi, Botond, 2003. "Quasi-hyperbolic discounting and retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1839-1872, September.
    20. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1995. "Secular Changes in the Work and Retirement Patterns of Older Men," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 362-385.
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