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Persistence in Labor Supply and the Response to the Social Security Earnings Test

  • Leora Friedberg
  • Anthony Webb

    ()

    (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College)

This paper investigates the impact on labor supply of changes in the Social Security earnings test in 1996 and 2000. We highlight how the persistence of labor supply choices influences both responses to policy changes and the estimation of such responses. We do this in two ways. First, we use data from the Health and Retirement Study and the Current Population Survey that allows us to compare employment transitions across cohorts that are differentially affected by changes in the earnings test rules. We show that conditioning on last year’s employment status is important in identifying responses to current earnings test changes. Second, we test the effect of not only current but also anticipated as well as past earnings test parameters which cohorts faced at earlier ages. We find that past and anticipated future rules influence current employment and earnings. Our results help to identify an effect of earnings test changes affecting ages 65-69 on employment at younger and older ages, which suggests caution about the use of neighboring age groups as control groups in analyzing responses to the earnings test. We also show that earnings test changes that were initiated in 1996 had an important effect, in addition to the changes in 2000 that have been extensively studied.

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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/persistence-in-labor-supply-and-the-response-to-the-social-security-earnings-test/
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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2006-27.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2006
Date of revision: Dec 2006
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2006-27
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. David S. Loughran & Steven Haider, 2007. "Do the Elderly Respond to Taxes on Earnings? Evidence from the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test," Working Papers 223-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  5. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "The Social Security Earnings Test and Labor Supply of Older Men," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 121-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gustman, Alan L & Steinmeier, Thomas L, 1986. "A Structural Retirement Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 555-84, May.
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  8. David Card, 1990. "Labor Supply with a Minimum Hours Threshold," Working Papers 642, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. 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.
  10. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1987. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Tradeoffs," NBER Working Papers 2121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  13. Anne E. Polivka & Stephen M. Miller, 1998. "The CPS after the Redesign: Refocusing the Economic Lens," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 249-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-36, April.
  15. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1990. "Bridge Jobs and Partial Retirement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(4), pages 482-501, October.
  16. Cordelia Reimers & Marjorie Honig, 1996. "Responses to Social Security by Men and Women: Myopic and Far-Sighted Behavior," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 359-382.
  17. John Haltiwanger & Marilyn E. Manser & Robert Topel, 1998. "Labor Statistics Measurement Issues," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number halt98-1, August.
  18. Michael D. Hurd, 1993. "The Effect of Labor Market Rigidities on the Labor Force Behavior of Older Workers," NBER Working Papers 4462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Reimers, Cordelia & Honig, Marjorie, 1993. "The Perceived Budget Constraint under Social Security: Evidence from Reentry Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 184-204, January.
  20. Gruber, Jonathan & Orszag, Peter, 2003. "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(4), pages 755-73, December.
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