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The Effect of Old Age Assistance on Retirement

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  • Leora Friedberg

Abstract

Researchers have devoted considerable attention to analyzing the impact of Social Security on retirement, with mixed findings. However, Old Age Assistance (OAA), a means-tested program established at the same time, dwarfed Social Security until the 1950s and coincided with the early decline in elderly participation. In addition, OAA benefit levels were determined by the states - a key source of policy variation that is missing in the case of Social Security. I estimate the relationship between OAA benefit levels and elderly labor force participation using individual data from the 1940 and 1950 Censuses. The effect of OAA is found to be strong and implies that participation would have risen slightly instead of falling if benefits had not been raised during the 1940s. I also present evidence against the endogeneity of state benefit levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Leora Friedberg, 1998. "The Effect of Old Age Assistance on Retirement," NBER Working Papers 6548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6548
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    Cited by:

    1. Susanne James-Burdumy, 2005. "The Effect of Maternal Labor Force Participation on Child Development," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 177-211, January.
    2. Price Fishback, 2017. "How Successful Was the New Deal? The Microeconomic Impact of New Deal Spending and Lending Policies in the 1930s," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1435-1485, December.
    3. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1999. "Pension plans and retirement incentives," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 20851, The World Bank.
    4. Richard Johnson, 2000. "The effect of old-age insurance on male retirement : evidence from historical cross-country data," Research Working Paper RWP 00-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    5. Daniel K. Fetter & Lee M. Lockwood, 2016. "Government Old-Age Support and Labor Supply: Evidence from the Old Age Assistance Program," NBER Working Papers 22132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Dora L. Costa, 2008. "The Rise of Retirement Among African Americans: Wealth and Social Security Effects," NBER Working Papers 14462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Price V. Fishback, 2012. "Relief During the Great Depression in A ustralia and A merica," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 52(3), pages 221-249, November.
    8. Price Fishback & Samuel Allen & Jonathan Fox & Brendan Livingston, 2010. "A Patchwork Safety Net: A Survey Of Cliometric Studies Of Income Maintenance Programs In The United States In The First Half Of The Twentieth Century," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(5), pages 895-940, December.
    9. Price V. Fishback & John Joseph Wallis, 2012. "What Was New About the New Deal?," NBER Working Papers 18271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Robert L. Clark & Lee A. Craig & John Sabelhaus, 2011. "State and Local Retirement Plans in the United States," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13685.
    11. Andreea Balan-Cohen, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? The Impact of the Old Age Assistance Program on Elderly Mortality in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0719, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    12. Stoian, Adrian & Fishback, Price, 2010. "Welfare spending and mortality rates for the elderly before the Social Security era," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-27, January.
    13. Conway, Karen Smith & Rork, Jonathan C., 2012. "The Genesis of Senior Income Tax Breaks," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 65(4), pages 1043-1068, December.
    14. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2000. "Retirement Responses to Early Social Security Benefit Reductions," NBER Working Papers 7963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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