IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations

Listed author(s):
  • Michael J. Boskin
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • Douglas J. Puffert
  • John B. Shoven

This paper computes the expected present value of Social Security retirement benefits and taxes for households of different marital circumstances, incomes, and age cohorts. Also computed are the net gain or loss from participation in the system and the expected internal rate of return it offers various participants. The paper calculates the marginal linkage between benefits and contributions, and also examines how the age of entry into the covered workforce affects the participant. All computations are made for the 1985 Social Security and income tax laws. The general results are that Social Security offers vastly different terms to households in different circumstances. The net gain or loss varies by $200,000 and the real internal rate of return on contributions ranges from negative numbers to 6.6% for households of different ages, income levels, and marital status. These differences are far greater than the widely debated distributional affects of relevant income tax alternatives. We also find that there is a great deal of variance in the marginal linkage of benefits and taxes with many households facing a situation where the present value of benefits increases from 0 to 30 cents per extra dollar of taxes paid.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1891.

in new window

Date of creation: Apr 1986
Publication status: published as Boskin, Michael J., Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Douglas J. Puffert and John B. Shoven. "Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations," The National Tax Journal, Vol. XL, No. 1, (March 1987), pp. 19-34.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1891
Note: PE AG
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

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.:

in new window

  1. Anthony Pellechio & Gordon Goodfellow, 1983. "Individual Gains and Losses from Social Security before and after the 1983 Amendments," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 3(2), pages 417-442, Fall.
  2. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1985. "The Efficiency Gains from Social Security Benefit - Tax Linkage," NBER Working Papers 1645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Michael J. Boskin & Marcy Avrin & Kenneth Cone, 1980. "Modeling Alternative Solutions to the Long-Run Social Security Funding Problem," NBER Working Papers 0583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael J. Boskin & Marcy Avrin & Kenneth Cone, 1983. "Modeling Alternative Solutions to the Long-Run Social Security Funding Problem," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 211-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Boskin, Michael J. & Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Shoven, John B., 1985. "Personal Security Accounts: A Proposal for Fundamental Social Security Reform," CEPR Publications 244431, Stanford University, Center for Economic Policy Research.
  7. Michael D. Hurd & John B. Shoven, 1985. "The Distributional Impact of Social Security," NBER Chapters,in: Pensions, Labor, and Individual Choice, pages 193-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Boskin, Michael J. & Kotlikoff, Laurence J., 1985. "Public debt and United States saving: A new test of the neutrality hypothesis," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 55-86, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1891. 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 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.