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Retirement Responses to a Generous Pension Reform: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Eastern Europe

  • Danzer, Alexander M.

    ()

    (University of Munich)

The retirement decision is under researched in developing and emerging countries, despite the topic's close relation to many development issues such as poverty reduction and social security, and despite the fact that population ageing will increasingly challenge the developing world. This paper uses a natural experiment from Ukraine to estimate the causal effect of a threefold increase in the legal minimum pension on labor supply and retirement behaviour at older ages. Applying difference-in-difference and regression discontinuity methods on two independent nationally representative data sets, the paper estimates a pure income effect that caused additional retirement of 30 to 47 percent. Additional evidence suggests that retirement incentives are stronger at the lower tail of the educational distribution and that the strict Labor Code curbed responses at the intensive labor supply margin. Although the substantial pension increase provided strong disincentives to work and put a heavy fiscal burden on Ukraine, it significantly reduced the propensity of falling into poverty for those in retirement.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4726.

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Length: 66 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4726
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  1. Tilman Brück & Alexander M. Danzer & Alexander Muravyev & Natalia Weißhaar, 2007. "Determinants of Poverty during Transition: Household Survey Evidence from Ukraine," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 748, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  3. Alexandre Kolev & Anne Pascal, 2002. "What keeps pensioners at work in Russia? Evidence from Household Panel Data," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 10(1), pages 29-53, March.
  4. Esther Duflo, 2003. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old-Age Pensions and Intrahousehold Allocation in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-25, June.
  5. Cally Ardington & Anne Case & Victoria Hosegood, 2007. "Labor Supply Responses To Large Social Transfers: Longitudinal Evidence From South Africa," Working Papers 1003, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  6. Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan & David A. Wise, 2010. "Introduction and Summary," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: The Relationship to Youth Employment, pages 1-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2004. "Introduction and Summary," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation, pages 1-40 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nicholas Barr & Peter A. Diamond, 2009. "Reforming Pensions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2523, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Willmore, Larry, 2007. "Universal Pensions for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 24-51, January.
  9. Robert Holzmann & Richard Hinz, 2005. "Old Age Income Support in the 21st century: An International Perspective on Pension Systems and Reform," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7336.
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Douglas Miller, 2003. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from Pensions in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 27-50, June.
  11. M. Belloni & R. Alessie, 2008. "The Importance of Financial Incentives on Retirement Choices: New Evidence for Italy," Working Papers 08-10, Utrecht School of Economics.
  12. de Carvalho Filho, Irineu Evangelista, 2008. "Old-age benefits and retirement decisions of rural elderly in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 129-146, April.
  13. Krueger, Alan B & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1992. "The Effect of Social Security on Labor Supply: A Cohort Analysis of the Notch Generation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(4), pages 412-37, October.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 1985. "Incentive Effects of Pensions," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 253-282 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Harrison, Ann E & Leamer, Edward, 1997. "Labor Markets in Developing Countries: An Agenda for Research," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S1-19, July.
  16. Costa, Dora L, 1995. "Pensions and Retirement: Evidence from Union Army Veterans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 297-319, May.
  17. Eric Edmonds & Kristin Mammen & Douglas L. Miller, 2004. "Rearranging the Family? Income Support and Elderly Living Arrangements in a Low Income Country," NBER Working Papers 10306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Mroz, Thomas A & Popkin, Barry M, 1995. "Poverty and the Economic Transition in the Russian Federation," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 1-31, October.
  19. Gary V. Engelhardt & Jonathan Gruber & Cynthia D. Perry, 2005. "Social Security and Elderly Living Arrangements: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
  20. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  21. Michael D. Hurd, 1988. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Working Papers 2803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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