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The Employment Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander M. Gelber
  • Damon Jones
  • Daniel W. Sacks
  • Jae Song

Abstract

We investigate the impact of the Social Security Annual Earnings Test (AET) on the employment decisions of older Americans. The AET reduces Social Security benefits by one dollar for every two dollars earned above the exempt amount. Using a differences-in-differences design, we find that the employment rate of those predicted to become subject to the AET decreases substantially relative to those not predicted to become subject to it. The point estimates suggest that the AET reduces the employment rate of Americans aged 63-64 by at least 1.2 percentage points.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander M. Gelber & Damon Jones & Daniel W. Sacks & Jae Song, 2020. "The Employment Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," NBER Working Papers 26696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26696
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
    2. Richard Disney & Sarah Smith, 2002. "The Labour Supply Effect of the Abolition of the Earnings Rule for Older Workers in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 136-152, March.
    3. Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2014. "Taxes and the Labor Supply of Older Americans: Recent Evidence From the Social Security Earnings Test," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 67(2), pages 443-458, June.
    4. Feldstein, Martin, 1990. "Imperfect annuity markets, unintended bequests, and the optimal age structure of social security benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 31-43, February.
    5. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "How do retirement tests affect the labour supply of older men?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 27-51, January.
    6. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Kumar, Anil, 2009. "The repeal of the retirement earnings test and the labor supply of older men," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, October.
    8. Eissa, Nada & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2008. "Evaluation of four tax reforms in the United States: Labor supply and welfare effects for single mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 795-816, April.
    9. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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