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Providing Efficient Incentives to Work: Retirement Ages and the Pension System

Author

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  • Maxim Troshkin

    (Cornell University)

  • Ali Shourideh

    (University of Pennsylavnia)

Abstract

This paper provides a theoretical and quantitative analysis of efficient pension systems as integral parts of the overall tax code. We study lifecycle environments with active intensive and extensive labor margins. First, we analytically characterize Pareto efficient policies when the main tension is between redistribution and provision of incentives: while it may be more efficient to have highly productive individuals work more and retire older, earlier retirement may be needed to give them incentives to fully realize their productivity when they work. We show that, under plausible conditions, efficient retirement ages increase with productivity. We also show that this pattern is implemented by pensions that not only depend on the age of retirement but are designed to be actuarially unfair. Second, using individual earnings and retirement data for the U.S. as well as intensive and extensive labor elasticities, we calibrate policy models to simulate robust implications: it is efficient for individuals with higher lifetime earning to retire (i) older than they do in the data (at 69.5 vs. at 62.8 in the data, for the most productive workers) and (ii) older than their less productive peers (at 69.5 for the most productive workers vs. at 62.2 for the least productive ones), in sharp contrast to the pattern observed in the U.S. data. Finally, we compute welfare gains of between 1 and 5 percent and total output gains of up to 1 percent from implementing efficient work and retirement age patterns. We argue that distorting the retirement age decision offers a powerful novel policy instrument, capable of overcompensating output losses from standard distortionary redistributive policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxim Troshkin & Ali Shourideh, 2014. "Providing Efficient Incentives to Work: Retirement Ages and the Pension System," 2014 Meeting Papers 1319, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed014:1319
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, 2019. "Idiosyncratic Risk, Aggregate Risk, And The Welfare Effects Of Social Security," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 60(2), pages 661-692, May.
    2. William B. Peterman & Kamila Sommer, 2019. "How Well Did Social Security Mitigate The Effects Of The Great Recession?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1433-1466, August.
    3. Daniel Harenberg & Alexander Ludwig, "undated". "Social Security and the Interactions Between Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk," Working Papers ETH-RC-14-002, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.
    4. Cagri S. Kumru & John Piggott, 2017. "Optimal Capital Income Taxation with Means-tested Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(3), pages 227-262, July.
    5. Laurence Ales & Roozbeh Hosseini & Larry Jones, "undated". "Is There ``Too Much'''' Inequality in Health Spending Across Income Groups?," GSIA Working Papers 2014-E18, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    6. Philippe Choné & Guy Laroque, 2018. "On the redistributive power of pensions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(3), pages 519-546, March.
    7. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "Learning and (or) Doing: Human Capital Investments and Optimal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 21381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Philippe Choné & Guy Laroque, 2014. "Income tax and retirement schemes," Sciences Po publications 2014-06, Sciences Po.
    9. Roozbeh Hosseini & Ali Shourideh, 2019. "Retirement Financing: An Optimal Reform Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(4), pages 1205-1265, July.
    10. Даниелян, Владимир, 2016. "Детерминанты Пенсионного Возраста: Обзор Исследований [Determinants of Retirement Age: A Review of Research]," MPRA Paper 73865, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Philippe Choné & Guy Laroque, 2017. "Optimal Income Tax in an Extensive Labor Supply Life-cycle Model," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 63(1), pages 78-96.

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