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Retirement and Wealth

  • Alan L. Gustman
  • Thomas L. Steinmeier

This paper estimates reduced form retirement and wealth equations, and analyzes the relationship between them. Data are from the first four waves of the longitudinal Health and Retirement Study, individuals born from 1931 to 1941. Single equation retirement models relate the probability of retiring to forward looking measures of changes in the values of social security and pension benefits when retirement is postponed. Such simple models suggest that if the social security early retirement age were to be raised or abolished, more people would retire earlier rather than later. Our work analyzes the reasons for such counter intuitive predictions, and discusses the need to analyze these policies in the context of a structural model of retirement and wealth. To improve retirement analysis, we develop the premium value, a measure of the future value of pensions and social security that better reflects the accrual of benefits under defined contribution plans. We also introduce a new definition of retirement to blend information on objective hours worked with subjective self reports of retirement status. Our findings also explore the effects of social security incentives on partial retirement, and consider the importance of partial retirement in any study relating social security to retirement behavior.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8229.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8229.

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Date of creation: Apr 2001
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Publication status: published as Gustman, Alan L. and Thomas L. Steinmeier. "Retirement and Wealth." Social Security Bulletin 64, 2 (2001-2002): 66-91.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8229
Note: AG LS PE
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  1. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Robin L. Lumsdaine & Olivia S. Mitchell, . "New Developments in the Economic Analysis of Retirement," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-8, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Kahn, James A., 1988. "Social security, liquidity, and early retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 97-117, February.
  4. Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  5. Alan S. Blinder & Roger H. Gordon & Donald E. Wise, 1980. "Reconsidering the Work Disincentive Effects of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 0562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1981. "Partial Retirement and the Analysis of Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rust, J., 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Working papers 9430, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  8. Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
  9. Alan L. Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Andrew A. Samwick & Thomas L. Steinmeier, . "Pension and Social Security Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Pension Research Council Working Papers 97-3, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  10. COILE, Courtney & DIAMOND, Peter & GRUBER, Jonathan & JOUSTEN, Alain, 2000. "Delays in claiming social security benefits," CORE Discussion Papers 2000029, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Stock, James H & Wise, David A, 1990. "Pensions, the Option Value of Work, and Retirement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1151-80, September.
  12. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1999. "Effects of pensions on savings: analysis with data from the health and retirement study," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 271-324, June.
  13. Martin Feldstein & Andrew Samwick, 1992. "Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 3962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Alan Gustman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Thomas L. Steinmeier, . "Retirement Measures in the Health and Retirement Survey," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-2, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. Alan L. Gustman & F. Thomas Juster, 1995. "Income and Wealth of Older American Households: Modeling Issues for Public Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1999. "What People Don't Know About Their Pensions and Social Security: An Analysis Using Linked Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 7368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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