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Do Elderly Men Respond to Taxes on Earnings? Evidence from the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test

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  • David S Loughran
  • Steven Haider

Abstract

The effective tax on earnings embodied in the Social Security retirement earnings test has been as high as 50 percent. Despite numerous empirical studies, there is surprisingly little agreement about whether the earnings test affects male labor supply. In this paper, the authors provide a comprehensive analysis of the earnings test for men using longitudinal administrative earnings data and more commonly used survey data. They find that much of the response in survey data is obfuscated by measurement error and labor market rigidities. Their results suggest a consistent and substantial response to the earnings test, especially for younger men.

Suggested Citation

  • David S Loughran & Steven Haider, 2007. "Do Elderly Men Respond to Taxes on Earnings? Evidence from the Social Security Retirement Earnings Test," Working Papers WR-223-1, RAND Corporation.
  • Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:wr-223-1
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    1. Burtless, Gary & Moffitt, Robert A, 1985. "The Joint Choice of Retirement Age and Postretirement Hours of Work," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 209-236, April.
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    3. Richard Disney & Sarah Smith, 2002. "The Labour Supply Effect of the Abolition of the Earnings Rule for Older Workers in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 136-152, March.
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    5. Reimers, Cordelia & Honig, Marjorie, 1993. "The Perceived Budget Constraint under Social Security: Evidence from Reentry Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 184-204, January.
    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. Lundberg, Shelly J, 1985. "Tied Wage-Hours Offers and the Endogeneity of Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(3), pages 405-410, August.
    8. Gruber, Jonathan & Orszag, Peter, 2003. "Does the Social Security Earnings Test Affect Labor Supply and Benefits Receipt?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 56(4), pages 755-773, December.
    9. Jonathan F. Pingle, 2006. "Social Security's delayed retirement credit and the labor supply of older men," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-37, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Burkhauser, Richard V & Turner, John A, 1978. "A Time-Series Analysis on Social Security and Its Effect on the Market Work of Men at Younger Ages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 701-715, August.
    11. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steimeier, 2004. "The Social Security Retirement Earning Test,Retirement and Benefit Claiming," Working Papers wp090, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
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