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Retirement Responses to Early Social Security Benefit Reductions

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  • Olivia S. Mitchell
  • John W.R. Phillips

Abstract

This paper evaluates potential responses to reductions in early Social Security retirement benefits. Using the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) linked to administrative records, we find that Social Security coverage is quite uneven in the older population: one-quarter of respondents in their late 50's lacks coverage under the Disability Insurance program, and one-fifth lacks coverage for old-age benefits. Among those eligible for benefits, respondents who subsequently retired early appear quite similar initially to those who later filed for normal retirement benefits, but both groups were healthier and better educated than those who later filed for disability benefits. Next we investigate the potential impact of curtailing, and then eliminating, early Social Security benefits. A life-cycle model of retirement behavior provides estimated parameters used to simulate the effects of cutting early Social Security benefits on retirement pathways. We find that cutting early Social Security benefits would boost the probability of normal retirement by twice as much as it would the probability of disability retirement.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7963
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    Cited by:

    1. Bound, John & Stinebrickner, Todd & Waidmann, Timothy, 2010. "Health, economic resources and the work decisions of older men," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 106-129, May.
    2. Manoli, Dayanand & Weber, Andrea, 2016. "The Effects of the Early Retirement Age on Retirement Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 10154, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Courtney C. Coile & Phillip B. Levine, 2007. "Labor Market Shocks and Retirement: Do Government Programs Matter?," NBER Chapters, in: Public Policy and Retirement, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 1902-1919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. John Bound & Todd Stinebrickner & Timothy Waidman, 2004. "Using a Structural Retirement Model to Simulate the Effect of Changes to the OASDI and Medicare Programs," Working Papers wp091, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    5. Christian Keuschnigg & Mirela Keuschnigg & Christian Jaag, 2011. "Aging and the Financing of Social Security in Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 147(II), pages 181-231, June.
    6. Rob Euwals & Annemiek van Vuren & Daniel van Vuuren, 2011. "The impact of reforms on labour market exit probabilities," CPB Discussion Paper 179, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    7. Andrew Au & Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2005. "Saving Shortfalls and Delayed Retirement," Working Papers wp094, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    8. Marjan, MAES, 2008. "Does the dismantlement of early retirement schemes increase unemployment in Belgium ?," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2008041, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    9. Euwals, Rob & van Vuren, Annemiek & van Vuuren, Daniel, 2011. "The Decline of Early Retirement Pathways in the Netherlands: An Empirical Analysis for the Health Care Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 5810, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Li, Yue, 2018. "Paradoxical effects of increasing the normal retirement age: A prospective evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 512-527.
    11. Ruiz-Tagle, Jaime & Tapia, Pablo, 2011. "Chile: early retirement, impatience and risk aversion," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), December.
    12. Duggan, Mark & Singleton, Perry & Song, Jae, 2007. "Aching to retire? The rise in the full retirement age and its impact on the social security disability rolls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1327-1350, August.
    13. Chen Song & Louis Nguyen, 2003. "The Effect of Hernias on the Labor Force Participation of Union Army Veterans," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Labor Force Participation over the Life Cycle: Evidence from the Past, pages 253-310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Xiaoyan Li & Nicole Maestas, 2008. "Does the Rise in the Full Retirement Age Encourage Disability Benefits Applications? Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers wp198, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    15. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2002. "Applications, Denials, and Appeals for Social Security Disability Insurance," Working Papers wp032, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    16. Olivia S. Mitchell & John W.R. Phillips, 2001. "Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance," Working Papers wp011, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

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

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