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Social Security Benefits and the Accumulation of Preretirement Wealth


  • Martin Feldstein


This paper uses a new and particularly well-suited body of data to assess the impact of social security retirement benefits on private savings. The Retirement History Survey combines survey evidence on the wealth of couples in their early sixties with detailed information from the administrative records of the Social Security Administration on the lifetime earnings of those individuals and the social security benefits to which they are entitled. The present paper uses these data to estimate a model of the determination of preretirement net worth. On balance, the estimates developed in this study favor the extended life cycle model as a theory of asset accumulation and indicate a substantial substitution of social security wealth for private wealth accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Feldstein, 1980. "Social Security Benefits and the Accumulation of Preretirement Wealth," NBER Working Papers 0477, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0477
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    2. 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.
    3. Boskin, Michael J, 1977. "Social Security and Retirement Decisions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(1), pages 1-25, January.
    4. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    5. Diamond, P. A., 1977. "A framework for social security analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 275-298, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1984. "Consumption during Retirement: The Missing Link in the Life Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, February.
    2. Louis Dicks-Mireaux & Mervyn A. King, 1982. "Pension Wealth and Household Savings: Tests of Robustness," NBER Working Papers 0962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "Tax Policy, the Rate of Return, and Savings," NBER Working Papers 0995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. André Masson & Denis Kessler & Dominique Strauss-Kahn, 1980. "Système de retraites et épargne des ménages en France," Revue Économique, Programme National Persée, vol. 31(6), pages 1157-1177.

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