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Labor Supply Effects of the Recent Social Security Benefit Cuts: Empirical Estimates Using Cohort Discontinuities

  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

In response to a "crisis" in Social Security financing two decades ago Congress implemented an increase in the Normal Retirement Age (NRA) of two months per year for cohorts born in 1938 and after. These cohorts began reaching retirement age in 2000. This paper studies the effects of these benefit cuts on recent retirement behavior. The evidence strongly suggests that the mean retirement age of the affected cohorts has increased by about half as much as the increase in the NRA. If older workers continue to increase their labor supply in the same way, there will be important implications for the estimates of Social Security trust fund exhaustion that have played such a major role in recent discussions of Social Security reform.

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File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.33.pdf
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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 33.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision: 2006
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:33
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  1. 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.
  2. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2006. "The Social Security Earnings Test Removal. Money Saved or Money Spent by the Trust Fund?," CeRP Working Papers 51, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  3. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Teaching the Tax Code: Earnings Responses to an Experiment with EITC Recipients," NBER Working Papers 14836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2006. "Social Security's delayed retirement credit and the labor supply of older men," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Joyce Manchester & Jae Song, 2008. "Have People Delayed Claiming Retirement Benefits? Responses to Changes in Social Security Rules: Working Paper 2008-04," Working Papers 19575, Congressional Budget Office.
  8. Krueger, Alan B & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1992. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 412-37, October.
  9. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2004. "Bulls, Bears, and Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 10779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Duggan, Mark & Singleton, Perry & Song, Jae, 2007. "Aching to retire? The rise in the full retirement age and its impact on the social security disability rolls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1327-1350, August.
  11. Gary Burtless, 1986. "Social Security, Unanticipated Benefit Increases, and the Timing of Retirement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(5), pages 781-805.
  12. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
  13. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1996. "Why Are Retirement Rates So High at Age 65?," NBER Chapters, in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 61-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2007. "Do better–informed workers make better retirement choices? A test based on the Social Security Statement," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 51, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  15. COILE, Courtney & DIAMOND, Peter & GRUBER, Jonathan & JOUSTEN, Alain, 2000. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," CORE Discussion Papers 2000029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  16. Ronald D. Lee & Michael W. Anderson & Shripad Tuljapurkar, 2003. "Stochastic Forecasts of the Social Security Trust Fund," Working Papers wp043, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  17. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 2001. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth among U.S. Households?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 832-857, September.
  18. Mark Duggan & Perry Singleton & Jae Song, 2005. "Aching to Retire? The Rise in the Full Retirement Age and its Impact on the Disability Rolls," NBER Working Papers 11811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. Blau, David M. & Goodstein, Ryan, 2007. "What Explains Trends in Labor Force Participation of Older Men in the United States?," IZA Discussion Papers 2991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2006. "The Social Security Earnings Test Removal: Money Saved or Money Spent by the Trust Fund?," Working Papers 892, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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  27. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
  28. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1985. "The 1983 Social Security Reforms and Labor Supply Adjustments of Older Individuals in the Long Run," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 237-53, April.
  29. Brigitte C. Madrian & Lars John Lefgren, 1999. "A Note on Longitudinally Matching Current Population Survey (CPS) Respondents," NBER Technical Working Papers 0247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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