IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Public pensions and labor supply over the life cycle

  • Eric French
  • John Bailey Jones

Virtually all developed countries face projected budget shortfalls for their public pension programs. The shortfalls arise for two reasons. First, populations in developed countries are aging rapidly. Second, until recently older individuals in developed countries have been retiring earlier. These two developments have created serious strains on public pension programs. In order to remain fiscally solvent, many governments have reformed their public pension schemes to encourage labor supply at older ages. These reforms include reductions in the generosity of public pensions and reduced penalties for working past the normal retirement age. In this paper, we consider how reforms to public pension systems affect labor supply over the life cycle. We put the recent empirical evidence on the effect of government pensions on labor supply in a life cycle context, and we present evidence on the effectiveness of tax reforms for stimulating labor supply over the life cycle. Our main conclusion is that the labor supply of older workers is responsive to changes in retirement incentives. The labor supply of younger workers is less responsive. Thus the trend towards lower taxes on older workers in many developed countries is likely to continue to fuel the recent trend towards later retirement. This, in turn, is likely to reduce the financial strain on public pension schemes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-09.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-09
Contact details of provider: Postal:
P.O. Box 834, 230 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois 60690-0834

Phone: 312/322-5111
Fax: 312/322-5515
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 71-96, Summer.
  2. Gopi Shah Goda & John B. Shoven & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2009. "Removing the Disincentives in Social Security for Long Careers," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 21-38 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rogerson, Richard & Wallenius, Johanna, 2009. "Micro and macro elasticities in a life cycle model with taxes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2277-2292, November.
  4. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "Exploring The Usefulness Of A Nonrandom Holdout Sample For Model Validation: Welfare Effects On Female Behavior," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1351-1378, November.
  5. Jonathan Heathcote, 2003. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-19, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Kitao, Sagiri & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "Taxing capital? Not a bad idea after all!," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/21, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  7. Luisa Fuster & Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Selahattin İmrohoroğlu, 2007. "Elimination of Social Security in a Dynastic Framework," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 113-145.
  8. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The Social Security Early Entitlement Age in a Structural Model of Retirement and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 9183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Paul Gomme & Richard Rogerson & Peter Rupert & Randall Wright, 2004. "The business cycle and the life cycle," Working Paper 0404, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  10. Mariacristina De Nardi & Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "Projected U.S. demographics and social security," Working Paper Series WP-98-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  11. Matthew Weinzierl, 2011. "The Surprising Power of Age-Dependent Taxes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1490-1518.
  12. Eric French, 2004. "The Effects of Health, Wealth and Wages on Labor Supply and Retirement Behavior," 2004 Meeting Papers 96, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Eric French & John BaileyJones, 2007. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self-Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Working Papers wp170, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  14. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  15. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "The Effect of Social Security on Retirement in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 691-730 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Shinichi Nishiyama & Kent Smetters, 2005. "Does Social Security Privatization Produce Efficiency Gains?," NBER Working Papers 11622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2004. "The Effect of Part-Time Work on Wages: Evidence from the Social Security Rules," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 329-352, April.
  18. Song, Jae G. & Manchester, Joyce, 2007. "New evidence on earnings and benefit claims following changes in the retirement earnings test in 2000," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 669-700, April.
  19. Eric French & Jae Song, 2014. "The Effect of Disability Insurance Receipt on Labor Supply," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 291-337, May.
  20. repec:oup:restud:v:78:y::i:4:p:1490-1518 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Cogan, John F, 1981. "Fixed Costs and Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 945-63, June.
  22. 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 C136-C152, March.
  23. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-88, September.
  24. Juan C. Conesa & Dirk Krueger, 1999. "Social Security Reform with Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(4), pages 757-795, October.
  25. Gopi Shah Goda & John Shoven & Sita Slavov, 2009. "A Tax On Work For The Elderly: Medicare As A Secondary Payer," Discussion Papers 08-60, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  26. Romain Duval, 2003. "Retirement Behaviour in OECD Countries: Impact of Old-Age Pension Schemes and other Social Transfer Programmes," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2003(2), pages 7-50.
  27. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
  28. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 3962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Johanna Wallenius, 2011. "Human Capital Accumulation and the Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution of Labor: How Large is the Bias?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(4), pages 577-591, October.
  30. Klaas de Vos & Arie Kapteyn, 2004. "Incentives and Exit Routes to Retirement in the Netherlands," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 461-498 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Arjan Heyma, 2004. "A structural dynamic analysis of retirement behaviour in the Netherlands," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 739-759.
  32. Kahn, James A., 1988. "Social security, liquidity, and early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 97-117, February.
  33. Laitner, John & Silverman, Dan, 2012. "Consumption, retirement and social security: Evaluating the efficiency of reform that encourages longer careers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 615-634.
  34. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, 05.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-09. 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: (Bernie Flores)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.