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Social Security, Retirement Age and Optimal Income Taxation

  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Jean-Marie Lozachmeur
  • Pierre Pestieau

It is often argued that implicit taxation on continued activity of elderly workers is responsible for the widely observed trend towards early retirement. In a world of laissez-faire or of first-best efficiency, there would be no such implicit taxation. The point of this paper is that when first-best redistributive instruments are not available, because some variables are not observable, the optimal policy does imply a distortion of the retirement decision. Consequently, the inducement of early retirement may be part of the optimal tax-transfer policy. We consider a model in which individuals differ in their productivity and their capacity to work long and choose both their weekly labor supply and their age of retirement. We characterize the optimal non linear tax-transfer that maximizes a utilitarian welfare function when weekly earnings and the length of active life are observable while individuals’ productivity and health status are not observable.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 693.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_693
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  1. Maderner, N. & Rochet, J.C., 1996. "Is It Legitimate to Encourage Work Sharing?," Papers 96.404, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  2. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, Abril.
  3. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
  4. Brito, Dagobert L. & Hamilton, Jonathan H. & Slutsky, Steven M. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1991. "Dynamic optimal income taxation with government commitment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 15-35, February.
  5. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. BOADWAY, R. & MARCHAND, M. & PESTIEAU, P. & del MAR RACIONERO, M., 2001. "Optimal redistribution with heterogeneous preferences for leisure," CORE Discussion Papers 2001025, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
  8. Lumsdaine, Robin L. & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "New developments in the economic analysis of retirement," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 49, pages 3261-3307 Elsevier.
  9. Dellis, Arnaud & Jousten, Alain & Perelman, Sergio, 2001. "Micro-Modelling of Retirement in Belgium," CEPR Discussion Papers 2795, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    • Arnaud Dellis & Raphaël Desmet & Alain Jousten & Sergio Perelman, 2004. "Micro-Modeling of Retirement in Belgium," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 41-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  11. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1986. " Payroll-Tax Financed Social Insurance with Variable Retirement," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 25-50.
  12. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1997. "In-kind transfers, self-selection and optimal tax policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 97-114, January.
  13. Crawford, Vincent P & Lilien, David M, 1981. "Social Security and the Retirement Decision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 505-29, August.
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