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

Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World: Introduction and Summary of Papers by..

Listed author(s):
  • Jonathan Gruber
  • David Wise

The populations in all industrialized countries are aging rapidly and life life expectancies are increasing. Yet older workers are leaving the labor force at younger and younger ages. In some countries, the labor force participation rates of 60 to 64 year old men have fallen by 75% over the past 30 years. This decline magnifies population trends, further increasing the number of retirees relative to the number of people working. Together these trends have put enormous pressure on the financial solvency of social security systems around the world. Ironically, the provisions of the systems themselves typically contribute to the labor force withdrawal. This paper is a summary of the findings of the evidence in 11 industrialized countries. We distill the key conclusions drawn from the collective findings of the individual papers. It is clear there is a strong correspondence between the age at which benefits are available and departure from the labor force. Social security programs often provide generous retirement benefits at young ages. Also, the provisions of these programs often imply large financial penalties on earnings beyond the social security early retirement age.Furthermore, in many countries disability and unemployment programs effectively provide early retirement benefits before the official social security early retirement age. We conclude that social security program provisions have contributed to the decline in labor force participation of older persons, substantially reducing the potential productive capacity of the labor force. It seems evident that if the trend to early retirement is to be reversed, as will almost surely be dictated by demographic trends, changing the provisions of social security programs that induce early retirement will play a key role.

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 6134.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 1997
Publication status: published as Gruber, Jonathan and David A. Wise. "Social Security And Retirement: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, 1998, v88(2,May), 158-163.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6134
Note: AG PE
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. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1992. "Three Models of Retirement: Computational Complexity versus Predictive Validity," NBER Chapters,in: Topics in the Economics of Aging, pages 21-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1994. "Pension Plan Provisions and Retirement: Men and Women, Medicare, and Models," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in the Economics of Aging, pages 183-222 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Baker, Michael & Benjamin, Dwayne, 1999. "Early Retirement Provisions and the Labor Force Behavior of Older Men: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 724-756, October.
  4. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-1180, September.
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:6134. 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.