IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cca/wpaper/51.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do better–informed workers make better retirement choices? A test based on the Social Security Statement

Author

Listed:
  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Abstract

In 1995, the Social Security Administration started sending out the annual Social Security Statement. It contains information about the worker’s estimated benefits at the ages 62, 65, and 70. We use this unique natural experiment to analyze the retirement and claiming decision making. First, we find that, despite the previ- ous availability of information, the Statement has a significant impact on workers’ knowledge about their benefits. These findings are consistent with a model where workers need to gather costly information in order to improve their retirement deci- sion. Second, we use this exogenous variation in knowledge to analyze the optimality of workers’ decisions. We do not find an overall improvement in workers’ retirement behavior, but there are some changes among particular groups. Workers aged 62 and 65 become less sensitive to Social Security Incentives. Age 62 and 65 are the two ages at which the retirement benefits are reported in the Statement, which suggests that some workers may use them as focal points. Additionally, we find evidence that before the Statement was introduced uninformed workers, who are more likely to be low–educated and black, made, on average, worse retirement decisions, and that workers with a dependent spouse usually disregarded their own spouse’s benefits in their calculations. The information contained in the Statement appears to have helped both groups, though with the important exception of black workers.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:51
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.carloalberto.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/no.51.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    2. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2009. "Labor supply effects of the recent social security benefit cuts: Empirical estimates using cohort discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1224-1233, December.
    4. McCall, Brian P, 1994. "Testing the Proportional Hazards Assumption in the Presence of Unmeasured Heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(3), pages 321-334, July-Sept.
    5. Coile, Courtney & Diamond, Peter & Gruber, Jonathan & Jousten, Alain, 2002. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 357-385, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2008. "Planning and Financial Literacy: How Do Women Fare?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 413-417, May.
    2. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    3. Eduardo Fajnzylber & Gonzalo Reyes, 2015. "Knowledge, Information, and Retirement Saving Decisions: Evidence from a Large-Scale Intervention in Chile," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 83-117, February.
    4. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Frank Heiland, 2006. "The Social Security Earnings Test Revisited: Information, Distortions, and Costs," Department of Economics Working Papers 06-04, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    5. Margaret Miller & Julia Reichelstein & Christian Salas & Bilal Zia, 2015. "Can You Help Someone Become Financially Capable? A Meta-Analysis of the Literature," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 220-246.
    6. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia Mitchell, 2006. "Financial Literacy and Retirement Preparedness: Evidence and Implications for Financial Education Programs," Working Papers wp144, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Frank Heiland, 2007. "The social security earnings test and work incentives," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 527-555.
    8. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Frank Heiland, 2008. "Early Retirement, Labor Supply, and Benefit Withholding: The Role of the Social Security Earnings Test," Working Papers wp183, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    9. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer & Frank Heiland & Warren C. Sanderson, 2006. "Retirement and Social Security Reform Expectations: A Solution to the New Early Retirement Puzzle," Department of Economics Working Papers 06-05, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    10. Annamaria Lusardi, 2010. "Financial Capability in the United States: Consumer Decision-Making and the Role of Social Security," Working Papers wp226, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    11. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200620 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    13. Annamaria Lusardi, 2007. "Household Saving Behavior: The Role of Literacy, Information and Financial Education Programs," CeRP Working Papers 65, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    14. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2009. "Labor supply effects of the recent social security benefit cuts: Empirical estimates using cohort discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1224-1233, December.
    15. Landerretche, Oscar M. & Martã Nez, Claudia, 2013. "Voluntary savings, financial behavior, and pension finance literacy: evidence from Chile," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 251-297, July.
    16. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2009. "Labor supply effects of the recent social security benefit cuts: Empirical estimates using cohort discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1224-1233, December.
    17. Eduardo Fajnzylber & Gonzalo Plaza & Gonzalo Reyes, 2009. "Better-informed Workers and Retirement Savings Decisions: Impact Evaluation of a Personalized Pension Projection," Working Papers 31, Superintendencia de Pensiones, revised Sep 2009.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2011. "The role of information for retirement behavior: Evidence based on the stepwise introduction of the Social Security Statement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 913-925, August.
    2. Luc Behaghel & David M. Blau, 2012. "Framing Social Security Reform: Behavioral Responses to Changes in the Full Retirement Age," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 41-67, November.
    3. Leora Friedberg & Anthony Webb, 2006. "Persistence in Labor Supply and the Response to the Social Security Earnings Test," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-27, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2006.
    4. Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2011. "Does Raising the Retirement Age Increase Employment of Older Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 5863, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Jean-Olivier Hairault & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2008. "Quantifying The Laffer Curve On The Continued Activity Tax In A Dynastic Framework," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(3), pages 755-797, August.
    6. Arie ten Cate, 2007. "Modelling the reporting discrepancies in bilateral data," CPB Memorandum 179.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    7. Hugo Benítez-Silva & J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Sergi Jiménez-Martín, 2011. "The effects of employment uncertainty and wealth shocks on the labor supply and claiming behavior of older American workers," Economics Working Papers 1275, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    8. Jeff Dominitz & Angela Hung & Arthur vanSoest, 2007. "Future Beneficiary Expectations of the Returns to Delayed Social Security Benefit Claiming and Choice Behavior," Working Papers wp164, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    9. H. Benitez-Silva & F. Heiland, 2008. "Early claiming of social security benefits and labour supply behaviour of older Americans," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(23), pages 2969-2985.
    10. Frank W. Heiland & Na Yin, 2014. "Have We Finally Achieved Actuarial Fairness of Social Security Retirement Benefits and Will It Last?," Working Papers wp307, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    11. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Na Yin, 2007. "An Empirical Study of the Effects of Social Security Reforms on Claming Behavior and Benefits Receipt Using Aggregate and Public-Use Administrative Micro Data," Department of Economics Working Papers 07-05, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    12. Michaud, P.C. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2004. "A Collective Retirement Model : Identification and Estimation in the Presence of Externalities," Other publications TiSEM fb0bfe30-b1e3-4b61-9bf2-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    13. van der Klaauw, Wilbert & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 2008. "Social security and the retirement and savings behavior of low-income households," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 21-42, July.
    14. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 2015. "Effects of social security policies on benefit claiming, retirement and saving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 51-62.
    15. Liebman, Jeffrey B. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P. & Seif, David G., 2009. "Labor supply responses to marginal Social Security benefits: Evidence from discontinuities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1208-1223, December.
    16. Bent Jesper Christensen & Malene Kallestrup‐Lamb, 2012. "The Impact Of Health Changes On Labor Supply: Evidence From Merged Data On Individual Objective Medical Diagnosis Codes And Early Retirement Behavior," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(S1), pages 56-100, June.
    17. Frank van Erp & Paul de Hek, 2009. "Analyzing labour supply of elderly people: a life-cycle approach," CPB Document 179.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    18. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Frank Heiland, 2008. "Early Retirement, Labor Supply, and Benefit Withholding: The Role of the Social Security Earnings Test," Working Papers wp183, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    19. Rob Euwals & Annemiek van Vuren & Daniel van Vuuren, 2011. "The impact of reforms on labour market exit probabilities," CPB Discussion Paper 179.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    20. Hakola, Tuulia, 2002. "Alternative Approaches to Model Withdrawals from the Labour Market – A Literature Review," Working Paper Series 2003:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social security statements; retirement expectations; retirement behavior; social security incentives;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:51. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/fccaait.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Giovanni Bert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/fccaait.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.