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Social Insurance and Retirement: A Cross-Country Perspective

In this paper we study the role of social insurance, namely old-age pensions, disability insurance and healthcare, in accounting for the differing labor supply patterns of older individuals across OECD countries. To this end, we develop a life cycle model of labor supply and health with heterogeneous agents. The key features of the framework are: (1) people choose when to stop working, and when/if to apply for disability and pension benefits, (2) the awarding of disability insurance benefits is imperfectly correlated with health, and (3) people can partially insure against health shocks by investing in health, the cost of which is dependent on health insurance coverage. We find that the incentives faced by older workers differ hugely across countries. In fact, based solely on differences in social insurance programs, the model predicts even more cross-country variation in the employment rates of people aged 55-64 than we observe in the data.

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Paper provided by Stockholm School of Economics in its series SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance with number 744.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 25 Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming as Laun, Tobias and Johanna Wallenius, 'Social Insurance and Retirement: A Cross-Country Perspective' in Review of Economic Dynamics, 2016, pages 72-92.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hastef:0744
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

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  1. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 2007. "Do Taxes Explain European Employment? Indivisible Labour, Human Capital, Lotteries and Savings," CEPR Discussion Papers 6196, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ohanian, Lee & Raffo, Andrea & Rogerson, Richard, 2008. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: Evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1353-1362, November.
  3. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Radha Iyengar & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2008. "The Political Economy of the Disability Insurance. Theory and Evidence of Gubernatorial Learning from Social Security Administration Monitoring," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 70, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2010.
  5. Johansson Per & Laun Lisa & Laun Tobias, 2014. "Screening Stringency in the Disability Insurance Program," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 19, July.
  6. Andrés Erosa & Luisa Fuster & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2011. "Labor supply and government programs: A cross-country analysis," Working Papers 2011-08, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 19 Oct 2011.
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