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Does Eliminating the Earnings Test Increase the Incidence of Low Income Among Older Women?

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  • Theodore Figinski
  • David Neumark

Abstract

Reducing or eliminating Social Security’s Retirement Earnings Test (RET) can encourage labor supply of older individuals receiving benefits. However, these reforms can encourage earlier claiming of Social Security benefits, permanently lowering future benefits. We explore the consequences, for older women, of eliminating the RET from the Full Retirement Age to age 69 (in 2000), relying on the inter-cohort variation in exposure to changes in the RET to estimate these effects. The evidence is consistent with the conclusion that eliminating the RET increased the likelihood of having very low incomes among women in their mid-70s and older – ages at which the lower benefits from claiming earlier could outweigh higher income in the earlier period when women or their husbands increased their labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore Figinski & David Neumark, 2015. "Does Eliminating the Earnings Test Increase the Incidence of Low Income Among Older Women?," NBER Working Papers 21601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21601
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    Cited by:

    1. Ian Burn & Patrick Button & David Neumark, 2017. "Age Discrimination and Hiring of Older Workers," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    2. David Neumark & Ian Burn & Patrick Button & Nanneh Chehras, 2016. "Do State Laws Protecting Older Workers from Discrimination Reduce Age Discrimination in Hiring? Experimental (and Nonexperimental) Evidence," Working Papers wp349, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Ian Burn & Patrick Button & Theodore F. Figinski & Joanne Song McLaughlin, 2020. "Why Retirement, Social Security, and Age Discrimination Policies Need to Consider the Intersectional Experiences of Older Women," NBER Working Papers 27450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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