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Long-Run Effects of Social Security Reform Proposals on Lifetime Progressivity

In: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform

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  • Julia Lynn Coronado
  • Don Fullerton
  • Thomas Glass

Abstract

This paper uses a lifetime framework to address questions about the progressivity of social security and proposed reforms. We use a large sample of diverse individuals from the PSID to calculate lifetime income, to classify individuals into income quintiles, and then to calculate the present value of taxes minus benefits for each person in each group. In our basic calculations, the current system is slightly progressive, overall, on a lifetime basis. Social Security would become slightly more progressive in one of the reform plans, and it would become slightly regressive in each of the other plans. The pattern of progressivity is affected by alternative assumptions, but it is affected in similar ways for the current system and proposed reforms. None of these reforms greatly alters the current degree of progressivity on a lifetime basis.
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  • Julia Lynn Coronado & Don Fullerton & Thomas Glass, 2002. "Long-Run Effects of Social Security Reform Proposals on Lifetime Progressivity," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 149-206, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9751
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    1. Burkhauser, Richard V & Warlick, Jennifer L, 1981. "Disentangling the Annuity from the Redistributive Aspects of Social Security in the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 27(4), pages 401-421, December.
    2. Coronado Julia Lynn & Fullerton Don & Glass Thomas, 2011. "The Progressivity of Social Security," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, November.
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    4. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Redistribution in the Current U.S. Social Security System," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 11-48, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Steven Caldwell & Melissa Favreault & Alla Gantman & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Thomas Johnson & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1999. "Social Security's Treatment of Postwar Americans," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, pages 109-148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Boskin, Michael J. & Kotlikoff, Lawrence J. & Puffert, Douglas J. & Shoven, John B., 1986. "Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations," CEPR Publications 244432, Stanford University, Center for Economic Policy Research.
    9. Jeffrey Brown, 2002. "Differential Mortality and the Value of Individual Account Retirement Annuities," NBER Chapters, in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 401-446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Smetters, Kent A & Walliser, Jan, 1998. "Social Security: Privatization and Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 137-141, May.
    11. Julia Lynn Coronado & Don Fullerton & Thomas Glass, 1999. "Distributional Impacts of Proposed Changes to the Social Security System," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, pages 149-186, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1998. "The Transition Path in Privatizing Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 215-264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Michael D. Hurd & John B. Shoven, 1985. "The Distributional Impact of Social Security," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 193-222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Panis, C.W.A. & Lillard, L.A., 1996. "Socioeconomic Differentials in the Returns to Social Security," Papers 96-05, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
    15. Harriet Orcutt Duleep, 1986. "Measuring the Effect of Income on Adult Mortality Using Longitudinal Administrative Record Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 238-251.
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    Cited by:

    1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent Smetters & Jan Walliser, 2001. "Finding a Way Out of America's Demographic Dilemma," NBER Working Papers 8258, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Haan, Peter & Kemptner, Daniel & Lüthen, Holger, 2020. "The rising longevity gap by lifetime earnings – Distributional implications for the pension system," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 17(C).
    3. Lyon, Andrew B. & Stell, John L., 2000. "Analysis of Current Social Security Reform Proposals," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 473-514, September.
    4. Jokisch, Sabine & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 2007. "Simulating the Dynamic Macroeconomic and Microeconomic Effects of the FairTax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 60(2), pages 225-252, June.
    5. Bagchi, Shantanu, 2019. "Differential mortality and the progressivity of social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2001. "How effective is redistribution under the social security benefit formula?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 1-28, October.
    7. Afonso, Luís Eduardo & Fernandes, Reynaldo, 2005. "Uma Estimativa dos Aspectos Distributivos da Previdência Social no Brasil," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 59(3), July.
    8. Alan J. Auerbach & Kerwin K. Charles & Courtney C. Coile & William Gale & Dana Goldman & Ronald Lee & Charles M. Lucas & Peter R. Orszag & Louise M. Sheiner & Bryan Tysinger & David N. Weil & Justin W, 2017. "How the Growing Gap in Life Expectancy May Affect Retirement Benefits and Reforms," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 42(3), pages 475-499, July.
    9. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The New Social Security Commission Personal Accounts: Where Is the Investment Principal?," NBER Working Papers 9045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Laun, Tobias & Markussen, Simen & Vigtel, Trond Christian & Wallenius, Johanna, 2019. "Health, longevity and retirement reform," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 123-157.
    11. McClellan, Mark & Skinner, Jonathan, 2006. "The incidence of Medicare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 257-276, January.
    12. Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Smetters, Kent & Walliser, Jan, 2007. "Mitigating America's demographic dilemma by pre-funding social security," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 247-266, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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