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Incentive Effects of Social Security Under an Uncertain Disability Option

  • Axel Boersch-Supan
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    Incentive effects of pension systems are usually estimated under the assumption that the institutional environment provides a single optimal 'pathway' for retirement. However, many countries provide competing pathways which may include several early retirement options in addition to normal retirement. Moreover, early retirement options often comprise special provisions for disabled and unemployed workers that can be strategically manipulated by the employer and the employee while ultimate eligibility for such provisions is uncertain in advance. This paper shows that ignoring the endogeneity and/or uncertainty in the relevant institutional setting can severely bias the estimates of incentive effects. Ignoring the endogeneity leads to overestimated incentive effects that unduly exaggerate the 'pull' view of early retirement. In turn, when the uncertain option set is specified too generously, incentive effects are underestimated. The paper proposes several estimates to bound the true incentive effects of social security on early retirement, and applies them to the German public pension system.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7339.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7339.

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    Date of creation: Sep 1999
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    Publication status: published as Borsch-Supan, Axel. "Incentive Effects Of Social Security On Labor Force Participation: Evidence In Germany And Across Europe," Journal of Public Economics, 2000, v78(1-2,Oct), 25-49.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7339
    Note: AG PE
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    1. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1990. "Three Models of Retirement: Computational Complexity Versus Predictive Validity," NBER Working Papers 3558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John P. Rust, 1990. "Behavior of Male Workers at the End of the Life Cycle: An Empirical Analysis of States and Controls," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 317-382 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Costas Meghir & Edward Whitehouse, 1993. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," IFS Working Papers W93/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1990. "The Pension Inducement to Retire: An Option Value Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 205-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A., 1993. "Smooth unbiased multivariate probability simulators for maximum likelihood estimation of limited dependent variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 347-368, August.
    6. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    7. Glenn T. Sueyoshi, 1989. "Social Security and the Determinants of Full and Partial Retirement: A Competing Risks Analysis," NBER Working Papers 3113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-78, May.
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