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Old, sick, alone, and poor: a welfare analysis of old-age social insurance programs

Author

Listed:
  • Braun, R. Anton

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

  • Kopecky, Karen A.

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)

  • Koreshkova, Tatyana

    () (Concordia University)

Abstract

Poor health, large acute and long-term care medical expenses, and spousal death are significant drivers of impoverishment among retirees. We document these facts and build a rich, overlapping generations model that reproduces them. We use the model to assess the incentive and welfare effects of Social Security and means-tested social insurance programs such as Medicaid and food stamp programs, for the aged. We find that U.S. means-tested social insurance programs for retirees provide significant welfare benefits for all newborn. Moreover, when means-tested social insurance benefits are of the scale in the United States, all individuals would prefer to be born into an economy with no Social Security. Finally, we find that the benefits of increasing means-tested social insurance are small or negative, if we hold fixed Social Security contributions and benefits at their current levels

Suggested Citation

  • Braun, R. Anton & Kopecky, Karen A. & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2013. "Old, sick, alone, and poor: a welfare analysis of old-age social insurance programs," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2013-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2013-02
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Guner, Nezih & Kulikova, Yuliya & Llull, Joan, 2018. "Marriage and health: Selection, protection, and assortative mating," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 138-166.
    2. Ameriks, John & Briggs, Joseph & Caplin, Andrew & Shapiro, Matthew D. & Tonetti, Christopher, 2016. "Late-in-Life Risks and the Under-Insurance Puzzle," Research Papers 3485, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    3. George Kudrna & Chung Tran & Alan Woodland, 2018. "Sustainable and Equitable Pensions with Means Testing in Aging Economies," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2018-666, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    4. Cormac O'Dea, 2018. "Insurance, Efficiency and the Design of Public Pensions," 2018 Meeting Papers 1037, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Richard Blundell & Jack Britton & Monica Costa Dias & Eric French, 2017. "The Impact of Health on Labor Supply Near Retirement," Working Papers wp364, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    6. Anne Villamil & Zhigang Feng, 2017. "Regressive Subsidy to EHI and Entrepreneurial Talent Allocation," 2017 Meeting Papers 1059, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. John Bailey Jones & Yue Li, 2017. "The Effects of Collecting Income Taxes on Social Security Benefits," CINCH Working Paper Series 1706, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health, revised Jun 2017.
    8. French, Eric & Jones, John Bailey & Kelly, Elaine & McCauley, Jeremy, 2018. "End-of-Life Medical Expenses," Working Paper 18-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    9. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Savings After Retirement: A Survey," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 177-204, October.
    10. Peterman, William B. & Sommer, Kamila, 2014. "How Well Did Social Security Mitigate the Effects of the Great Recession?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    11. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Medicaid Insurance in Old Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3480-3520, November.
    12. Wellschmied, Felix, 2015. "The Welfare Effects of Asset Means-Testing Income Support," IZA Discussion Papers 8838, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Hyun Lee & Kai Zhao & Fei Zou, 2019. "Does the Early Retirement Policy Really Benefit Women?," Working papers 2019-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    14. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:162-190 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Braun, R. Anton & Kopecky, Karen A. & Koreshkova, Tatyana, 2017. "Old, Frail, and Uninsured: Accounting for Puzzles in the U.S. Long-Term Care Insurance Market," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2017-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, revised 01 Aug 2018.
    16. Jones, John Bailey & Li, Yue, 2018. "The effects of collecting income taxes on Social Security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 128-145.
    17. John Ameriks & Joseph Briggs & Andrew Caplin & Matthew D. Shapiro & Christopher Tonetti, 2016. "The Long-Term-Care Insurance Puzzle: Modeling and Measurement," NBER Working Papers 22726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. repec:ifs:fistud:v:37:y:2016:i::p:717-747 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Eric French & Elaine Kelly & Mariacristina Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones & Jeremy McCauley, 2016. "Medical Spending of the US Elderly," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 37, pages 717-747, September.
    20. Braun, R. Anton & Joines, Douglas H., 2014. "The Implications of a graying japan for government policy," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2014-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    21. Tatyana Koreshkova & Karen Kopecky & R. Anton Braun, 2016. "Accounting for Low Take-up Rates and High Rejection Rates in the U.S. Long-Term Care Insurance Market," 2016 Meeting Papers 515, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Security; Medicaid; social insurance; elderly; medical expenses;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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