IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding Patterns of Social Security Benefit Receipt, Pensions Incomes, Retirement and Saving by Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Marital Status: A Structural Approach


  • Alan L. Gustman

    (Dartmouth College and NBER)

  • Thomas L. Steinmeier

    (Texas Tech University)


In this paper we use data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine differences in retirement behavior, wealth, Social Security and pension benefits by race and gender. The differences observed among groups are sometimes substantial. We then estimate models jointly explaining retirement and wealth by race and gender. We decompose differences in outcomes into those due to differences in parameters of the preference function for leisure and goods, time preference rates, and those due to differences in the circumstances of the members of each group. By circumstances we mean both the opportunity set, and factors that determine the disutility of continued work, such as health status. We find that differences in outcomes among white, black and Hispanic males are not due to differences in preferences for leisure and goods consumption, but are due both to differences in time preference and to differences in circumstances. Differences in outcomes between men and women are primarily due to differences in preferences. Authors’ Acknowledgement This paper was supported by a grant from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to the Michigan Retirement Research Center, UM 03-13. The opinions and conclusions are solely those of the authors and should not be construed as representing the opinions or policy of SSA, the Michigan Retirement Research Center, or the National Bureau of Economic Research. Alan L. Gustman is Loren Berry Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College, Department of Economics, Hanover, N.H. 03755 ( Thomas L. Steinmeier is Professor of Economics, Texas Tech University, Department of Economics, Lubbock, Texas 79409 (

Suggested Citation

  • Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2004. "Understanding Patterns of Social Security Benefit Receipt, Pensions Incomes, Retirement and Saving by Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Marital Status: A Structural Approach," Working Papers wp082, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp082

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1995. "Retirement Measures in the Health and Retirement Study," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30, pages s57-s83.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1982. "Minimum Hours Constraints and Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Alan Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, "undated". "Retirement Measures in the Health and Retirement Survey," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp082. 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: (MRRC Administrator). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.