Social Security and the Timing of Divorce
Social Security provides spousal benefits in retirement to secondary workers in married couples based on the primary worker's earnings record. In addition, Social Security pays spousal benefits to divorced secondary workers whose marriages lasted at least ten years. However, if a marriage failed in less than ten years, no spousal benefits are paid. The spousal benefit is particularly valuable to secondary workers in couples where there is a large disparity in earnings between the primary worker and the secondary worker. We examine whether these couples, who have more to gain from extending their marriage to ten years, are more likely to delay divorce to the tenth year relative to a control group. We find that vulnerable couples are slightly more likely to delay divorce from year nine to year ten; however, the effect is statistically insignificant and small in magnitude. While the "cliff"-vesting of retirement benefits for divorced spouses raises equity concerns, it does not appear to distort incentives for divorce.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Cristian Meghea, 2004. "The Effect of Social Security on Divorce and Remarriage Behavior," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2004-9, Center for Retirement Research, revised Apr 2004.
- James Alm & Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Leslie A. Whittington, 1999. "Policy Watch: The Marriage Penalty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 193-204, Summer.
- Melissa M. Favreault & C. Eugene Steuerle, 2007. "Social Security Spouse and Survivor Benefits for the Modern Family," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-07, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2007.
- Feldstein, Martin & Samwick, Andrew A., 1992.
"Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, March.
- Gopi Shah Goda, 2007. "Implicit Social Security Tax Rates over the Life Cycle," Discussion Papers 06-021, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13382. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.