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Social security and the search behaviour of workers approaching retirement

  • José Ignacio García

    ()

    (Centro de Estudios Andaluces)

  • Alfonso R. Sánchez Martín

    ()

    (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

This paper explores the links between unemployment, retirement and their associated public insurance programs. It is a contribution to a growing body of literature focused on a better understanding of the labor behavior of advanced—age workers, which has gained importance as the pension crisis looms. The analysis combines the development of a new theoretical model and a detailed exploration of the empirical regularities using the Spanish Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales (MCVL) dataset. The model is a extension of the standard search model, designed to reproduce the non—stationary environment faced by workers approaching retirement and to explore the interaction of unemployment benefits and retirement pensions. Via calibrated simulations we show that the basic empirical reemployment and retirement patterns can be rationalized as the optimal responses to both the labor market conditions and the institutional incentives. Generous Unemployment Benefits (for durations of up to two years) together with very significant early retirement penalties, make optimal to stay unemployed without searching for large groups of unemployed workers. This moral hazard problem can he substantially alleviated through institutional reform. Setting the early retirement penalties according to the age when the individual withdraws from the labor force (rather than when he/she claims the pension for the first time) seems particularly beneficial. It increases the labor supply, reduces the financial cost for the social security system and generate enough extra resources to compensate for the welfare loss of those unemployed directly hit by the reform.

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Paper provided by Centro de Estudios Andaluces in its series Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces with number E2008/10.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cea:doctra:e2008_10
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  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. Joseph Stiglitz & Jungyoll Yun, 2002. "Integration of unemployment insurance with retirement insurance," Discussion Papers 0203-04, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Frijters, Paul & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2003. "Job Search with Nonparticipation," CEPR Discussion Papers 3922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  6. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
  7. Bernard Casey & Howard Oxley & Edward R. Whitehouse & Pablo Antolín & Romain Duval & Willi Leibfritz, 2003. "Policies for an Ageing Society: Recent Measures and Areas for Further Reform," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 369, OECD Publishing.
  8. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, December.
  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. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 2000. "Incentive effects of social security on labor force participation: evidence in Germany and across Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 25-49, October.
  11. Narayana Kocherlakota, 2010. "Figuring out the impact of hidden savings on optimal unemployment insuranc," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000291, David K. Levine.
  12. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1990. "Search Behaviour, Transitions to Nonparticipation and the Duration of Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(402), pages 842-65, September.
  13. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & Alfonso R. Sánchez Martín, 2003. "An evaluation of the life-cycle effects of minimum pensions on retirement behavior," Working Papers 108, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  14. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
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