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Social Security, benefit claiming, and labor force participation: a quantitative general equilibrium approach

  • Selahattin Imrohoroglu
  • Sagiri Kitao

We build a general equilibrium model of overlapping generations that incorporates endogenous saving, labor force participation, work hours, and Social Security benefit claims. Using this model, we study the impact of three Social Security reforms: 1) a reduction in benefits and payroll taxes; 2) an increase in the earliest retirement age, to sixty-four from sixty-two; and 3) an increase in the normal retirement age, to sixty-eight from sixty-six. We find that a 50 percent cut in the scope of the current system significantly raises asset holdings and the labor input, primarily through higher participation of older workers, and reduces the shortfall of the Social Security budget through a reduction in early claiming. Increasing the normal retirement age also raises saving and the labor supply, but the effects are smaller. Postponing the earliest retirement age has only a negligible effect. When the projected aging of the population is taken into account, the case for a reform that encourages labor force participation of the elderly appears to be much stronger.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 436.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:436
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  1. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Sagiri Kitao, 2009. "Labor Supply Elasticity and Social Security Reform," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-5, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2009.
  2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The Social Security Early Entitlement Age in a Structural Model of Retirement and Wealth," Working Papers wp029, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  3. Orazio Attanasio & Sagiri Kitao & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Financing Medicare: A General Equilibrium Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 333-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Parker, Jonathan A, 2000. "Consumption Over the Life-Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 2345, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Why do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," NBER Working Papers 15149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. H. Benitez-Silva & F. Heiland, 2008. "Early claiming of social security benefits and labour supply behaviour of older Americans," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(23), pages 2969-2985.
  8. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Domeij, David & Floden, Martin, 2001. "The labor-supply elasticity and borrowing constraints: Why estimates are biased," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 480, Stockholm School of Economics.
  10. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Joines, Douglas H, 1995. "A Life Cycle Analysis of Social Security," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 83-114, June.
  11. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Orazio P. Attanasio & Agar Brugiavini, 2003. "Social Security And Households' Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1075-1119, August.
  13. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Debra S. Dwyer & Frank Heiland & Warren C. Sanderson, 2006. "Retirement and Social Security Reform Expectations: A Solution to the New Early Retirement Puzzle," Department of Economics Working Papers 06-05, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  14. Edward C. Prescott & Richard Rogerson & Johanna Wallenius, 2007. "Lifetime aggregate labor supply with endogenous workweek length," Staff Report 400, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  17. 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.
  18. Hugo Ben�tez-Silva & Frank Heiland, 2007. "The social security earnings test and work incentives," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 527-555.
  19. HUANG, HE & IMROHOROG[caron]LU, SELAHATTIN & SARGENT, THOMAS J., 1997. "Two Computations To Fund Social Security," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 7-44, January.
  20. Alonso-Ortiz, Jorge, 2010. "Social security and retirement across the OECD," MPRA Paper 35619, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Dec 2011.
  21. MaCurdy, Thomas E, 1981. "An Empirical Model of Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Setting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1059-85, December.
  22. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1999. "Privatizing Social Security in the U.S. -- Comparing the Options," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(3), pages 532-574, July.
  23. Jeske, Karsten & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: Can a regressive policy improve welfare?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 210-221, March.
  24. Palumbo, Michael G, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421, April.
  25. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Debra Sabatini Dwyer & Warren Sanderson, 2006. "A Dynamic Model of Retirement and Social Security Reform Expectations: A Solution to the New Early Retirement Puzzle," Working Papers wp134, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  26. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  27. Thomas J. Sargent & Lars Ljungqvist & Sagiri Kitao, 2009. "A Life Cycle Model of Trans-Atlantic Employment Experiences," 2009 Meeting Papers 914, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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