IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/crr/crrwps/wp2009-23.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Role of Information for Retirement Behavior: Evidence Based on the Stepwise Introduction of 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. I use this unique natural experiment to analyze the retirement and claiming decision-making. First, I find that, despite the previous 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 decision. Second, I use this exogenous variation in knowledge to analyze the optimality of workers’ decisions. Several findings suggest that workers do not change their retirement behavior: i) Workers do not change their expected age of retirement after receiving the Statement; ii) monthly claiming patterns do not show any change after the introduction of the Social Security Statement; iii) workers do not become more sensitive to Social Security incentives after receiving the Statement. Either, workers are already behaving optimally, or the information contained in the Statement is not sufficient to improve their retirement behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2009. "The Role of Information for Retirement Behavior: Evidence Based on the Stepwise Introduction of the Social Security Statement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-23, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2009-23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/the-role-of-information-for-retirement-behavior-evidence-based-on-the-stepwise-introduction-of-the-social-security-statement/
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Krueger, Alan B. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2002. "Labor supply effects of social insurance," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 33, pages 2327-2392, Elsevier.
    2. 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.
    3. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2006. "The Social Security Earnings Test Removal: Money Saved or Money Spent by the Trust Fund?," Working Papers 69, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
    4. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1996. "Why Are Retirement Rates So High at Age 65?," NBER Chapters, in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 61-82, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2001. "Imperfect Knowledge, Retirement and Saving," NBER Working Papers 8406, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "New evidence on pensions, social security, and the timing of retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 207-236, November.
    7. 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.
    8. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Social Security Incentives for Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 311-354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Annamarie Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2005. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," Working Papers wp108, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    10. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2006. "The Social Security Earnings Test Removal: Money Saved or Money Spent by the Trust Fund?," Working Papers 892, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    14. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2006. "The Social Security Earnings Test Removal. Money Saved or Money Spent by the Trust Fund?," CeRP Working Papers 51, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
    15. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    16. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2007. "Future Social Security Entitlements and the Retirement Decision," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 234-246, May.
    17. Bernheim, B Douglas & Levin, Lawrence, 1989. "Social Security and Personal Saving: An Analysis of Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 97-102, May.
    18. repec:pri:cepsud:133mastrobuoni is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Sewin Chan & Ann Huff Stevens, 2008. "What You Don't Know Can't Help You: Pension Knowledge and Retirement Decision-Making," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 253-266, May.
    20. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Social Security Benefits: An Empirical Study of Expectations and Realizations," NBER Working Papers 2257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
    22. Samwick, Andrew A., 1998. "Discount rate heterogeneity and social security reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 117-146, October.
    23. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Engels, Barbara & Geyer, Johannes & Haan, Peter, 2017. "Pension incentives and early retirement," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 216-231.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Brown, Kristine M., 2013. "The link between pensions and retirement timing: Lessons from California teachers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 1-14.
    5. 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.
    6. Asch, Beth & Haider, Steven J. & Zissimopoulos, Julie, 2005. "Financial incentives and retirement: evidence from federal civil service workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 427-440, February.
    7. Bissonnette, L. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2010. "Retirement Expectations, Preferences, and Decisions," Other publications TiSEM 45e93b08-cc1d-47c6-ba06-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. Blundell, R. & French, E. & Tetlow, G., 2016. "Retirement Incentives and Labor Supply," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 457-566, Elsevier.
    9. Courtney C. Coile, 2015. "Economic Determinants Of Workers’ Retirement Decisions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 830-853, September.
    10. Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2011. "Does Raising the Retirement Age Increase Employment of Older Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 5863, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Philip Armour & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "The Effect of Social Security Information on the Labor Supply and Savings of Older Americans," Working Papers wp361, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    12. Christian N. Brinch & Erik Hernæs & Zhiyang Jia, 2017. "Salience and Social Security Benefits," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 265-297.
    13. Andries de Grip & Didier Fouarge & Raymond Montizaan, 2013. "How Sensitive are Individual Retirement Expectations to Raising the Retirement Age?," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 225-251, September.
    14. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    15. Frank Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Non-financial Determinants of Retirement: A Literature Review," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 167-191, June.
    16. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3261-3307 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Chalmers, John & Johnson, Woodrow T. & Reuter, Jonathan, 2014. "The effect of pension design on employer costs and employee retirement choices: Evidence from Oregon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 17-34.
    18. Giesecke, Matthias Nicolas & Yang, Guanzhong, 2016. "The Effect of Financial Incentives on Retirement Decision Making under Different Schemes of Information Provision: Experimental Evidence," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145548, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    19. Frank van Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel van Vuuren, 2013. "Non-financial determinants of retirement," CPB Discussion Paper 243, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    20. Hanel, Barbara & Riphahn, Regina T., 2012. "The timing of retirement — New evidence from Swiss female workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 718-728.
    21. Begley, Jaclene & Chan, Sewin, 2018. "The effect of housing wealth shocks on work and retirement decisions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 180-195.

    More about this item

    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:crr:crrwps:wp2009-23. 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/crrbcus.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: Amy Grzybowski or Christopher F Baum (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/crrbcus.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.