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Social desirability of earnings tests

Author

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  • CREMER, Helmuth
  • LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

Abstract

In many countries pension systems involve some form of earnings test; i.e., an invidual's benefits are reduced if he has labor income. This paper examines whether or not such earning tests emerge when pension system and income tax are optimally designed. We use a simple model with individuals differing both in productivity and their health status. The working life of an individual has two 'endings': an official retirement age at which he starts drawing pension benefits (while possibly supplementing them with some labor income) and an effective age of retirement at which professional activity is completely given up. Weekly work time is endogenous, but constant in the period before official retirement and again constant (but possibly at a different level), after official retirement. Earnings tests mean that earnings are subject to a higher tax after official retirement than before. We show under which conditions earnings tests emerge both under a linear and under a nonlinear tax scheme. In particular, we show that earning tests will occur if heterogeneities in health or productivity are more significant after official retirement than before."

Suggested Citation

  • CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2006. "Social desirability of earnings tests," CORE Discussion Papers 2006017, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2006017
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    File URL: https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/immaq/core/dp-2006.html
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Social security, retirement age and optimal income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2259-2281, September.
    2. Richard Disney & Sarah Smith, 2002. "The Labour Supply Effect of the Abolition of the Earnings Rule for Older Workers in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 136-152, March.
    3. Robert Fenge & Pierre Pestieau, 2005. "Social Security and Early Retirement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062496, January.
    4. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Leora Friedberg, 2000. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 48-63, February.
    6. Michele Boldrin & Juan J. Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno & Franco Peracchi, 1999. "The future of pensions in Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 14(29), pages 287-320, October.
    7. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steimeier, 2004. "The Social Security Retirement Earning Test,Retirement and Benefit Claiming," Working Papers wp090, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fehr, Hans & Uhde, Johannes, 2012. "Optimal Pension Design in General Equlibrium," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62024, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Fehr, Hans & Uhde, Johannes, 2014. "Means-testing and economic efficiency in pension design," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 44(S1), pages 57-67.
    3. Hans Fehr & Johannes Uhde, 2013. "On the optimal design of pension systems," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 457-482, August.
    4. Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Flexible Retirement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 573-593, July.
    5. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_713 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • 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

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