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Reforming the U.S. Social Security system accounting for employment uncertainty

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The discussion about the need for Social Security reforms has recently resurfaced, and is expected to continue to be part of the political agenda in the near future. Our paper is a step in the direction of providing a framework for policy analysis that accounts for employment uncertainty, something that has been relatively overlooked in terms of its link with retirement decisions. In this context, we explicitly consider the participation decision of older individuals along with their decision to claim Social Security retirement benefits, using a sequential decision structure. We have numerically solved and simulated a benchmark model of the inter-temporal decision problem that individuals face in the United States. Our results show that the model is able to explain with great accuracy the strikingly high proportion of individuals who claim benefits exactly at the Early Retirement Age. The model is also able to replicate the declining labor force participation at older ages. Additionally, we discuss a number of policy experiments that suggest that individuals claiming and labor supply decisions are responsive to measures likely to be on the table for policy makers when considering the reforms of the U.S. Social Security system.

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File URL: https://econ-papers.upf.edu/papers/1455.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1455.

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Date of creation: Nov 2014
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1455
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
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  4. Imrohoroglu, Selahattin & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "Labor supply elasticity and social security reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 867-878, August.
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  12. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2004. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub04-1, December.
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  15. Jean-Olivier Hairault & Francois Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2010. "Distance to Retirement and Older Workers' Employment: The Case for Delaying the Retirement Age," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1034-1076, 09.
  16. Laitner, John & Silverman, Dan, 2012. "Consumption, retirement and social security: Evaluating the efficiency of reform that encourages longer careers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(7-8), pages 615-634.
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  18. Jean-Olivier Hairault & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2010. "Distance to Retirement and The Job Search of Older Workers: The Case For Delaying Retirement Age," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00517107, HAL.
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  20. repec:pri:cepsud:95votruba is not listed on IDEAS
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