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The Role of Social Insurance Programs in Accounting for Cross-Country Differences in Retirement Behavior

  • Johanna Wallenius

    (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Tobias Laun

    (Uppsala University)

In this paper we study the role of social insurance, namely old-age pensions, disability insurance and healthcare, in accounting for the differing labor supply patterns of older individuals across OECD countries. To this end, we develop a life cycle model of labor supply and health with heterogeneous agents. The key features of the framework are: (1) people choose when to stop working, and when/if to apply for disability and pension benefits, (2) the awarding of disability insurance benefits is imperfectly correlated with health, and (3) people can partially insure against health shocks by investing in health, the cost of which is dependent on health insurance coverage. We find that the incentives faced by older workers differ hugely across countries. In fact, based solely on differences in social insurance programs, the model predicts even more cross-country variation in the employment rates of people aged 55-64 than we observe in the data.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2013 Meeting Papers with number 221.

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Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed013:221
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and Market Work: Is Scandinavia an Outlier?," NBER Working Papers 12890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ohanian, Lee & Raffo, Andrea & Rogerson, Richard, 2008. "Long-term changes in labor supply and taxes: Evidence from OECD countries, 1956-2004," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1353-1362, November.
  3. Radha Iyengar & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2008. "The Political Economy of the Disability Insurance. Theory and Evidence of Gubernatorial Learning from Social Security Administration Monitoring," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 70, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2010.
  4. Erosa, Andrés & Fuster, Luisa & Kambourov, Gueorgui, 2012. "Labor supply and government programs: A cross-country analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 84-107.
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