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The abolition of the earnings rule for UK pensioners


  • Richard Disney

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Sussex)

  • Tanner, Tanner

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)


The US has legislated to abolish its social security earnings test. A priori it is not possible to predict the effect this will have on work incentives. Using data from the Family Expenditure Survey we show that the abolition of the earnings rule in the UK increased the number of hours worked by men. The lack of any evidence of a reduction in hours may be a consequence of those who previously earned more than the earnings threshold deferring pension receipt at an actuarially favourable rate. This is consistent with there being little evidence of a significant change in the number of deferrals after the earnings rule was abolished.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Disney & Tanner, Tanner, 2000. "The abolition of the earnings rule for UK pensioners," IFS Working Papers W00/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:00/13

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
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    4. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-1129, September.
    5. Martin Feldstein, 1998. "Privatizing Social Security," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld98-1, January.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Davies, James B. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 2000. "The distribution of wealth," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 605-675 Elsevier.
    8. Alan Budd & Nigel Campbell, 1998. "The Roles of the Public and Private Sectors in the U.K. Pension System," NBER Chapters,in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 99-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Carl Emmerson & Sarah Tanner, 2000. "A note on the tax treatment of private pensions and Individual Savings Accounts," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 65-74, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gruber, Jonathan & Orszag, Peter, 2003. "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(4), pages 755-773, December.
    2. Ning, Manxiu & Gong, Jinquan & Zheng, Xuhui & Zhuang, Jun, 2016. "Does New Rural Pension Scheme decrease elderly labor supply? Evidence from CHARLS," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 315-330.
    3. Richard Disney & Carl Emmerson & Sarah Smith, 2004. "Pension Reform and Economic Performance in Britain in the 1980s and 1990s," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 233-274 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Juarez Laura, 2010. "The Effect of an Old-Age Demogrant on the Labor Supply and Time Use of the Elderly and Non-Elderly in Mexico," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-27, June.
    5. Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Reed, Robert, 2003. "Age-Specific Employment Policies," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10256, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.

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