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Social Security and the American Family

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  • Michael J. Boskin
  • Douglas J. Puffert

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a computer simulation of the expected present value of benefits, taxes, and transfers, rates of return, and marginal linkage of benefits and taxes for persons of different income levels and family status. A number of important issues associated with the "deal" and incentives projected to be offered by the current social security system for different family situations are treated: married versus single persons, number of earners in the family and the division of earnings between them, and the special situation of widows and divorcees. The results show tremendous variation for different family situations and often dwarf amounts at stake for most families in the recent debates over income tax reform. We pay particular attention to items such as marriage penalties and subsidies, incentives to postpone divorce and low marginal linkage of expected benefits to incremental taxes paid by women, whether as second earners in a family, divorcees or widows.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Boskin & Douglas J. Puffert, 1987. "Social Security and the American Family," NBER Working Papers 2117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2117
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    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. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Boskin, Michael J. & Kotlikoff, Lawrence J. & Puffert, Douglas J. & Shoven, John B., 1986. "Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations," CEPR Publications 244432, 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. Thompson, Lawrence H, 1983. "The Social Security Reform Debate," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 1425-1467, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boskin, Michael J., 1987. "Future Social Security Financing Alternatives and National Saving," CEPR Publications 244436, Stanford University, Center for Economic Policy Research.
    2. Boskin, Michael J. & Puffert, Douglas J., 1987. "The Financial Impact of Social Security by Cohort," CEPR Publications 244435, Stanford University, Center for Economic Policy Research.
    3. Michael J. Boskin, 1987. "Future Social Security Financing Alternatives and National Saving," NBER Working Papers 2256, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michael J. Boskin & Douglas J. Puffert, 1987. "The Financial Impact of Social Security by Cohort Under Alternative Financing Assumptions," NBER Working Papers 2225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Madonna Harrington Meyer & Douglas A. Wolf & Christine L. Himes, 2006. "How Will Declining Rates of Marriage Reshape Eligibility for Social Security?," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 33, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.

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