Abstract

A critical question for Social Security policy is how program incentives affect retirement behavior. We use the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) to examine the impact of Social Security incentives on male retirement. We implement forward-looking models whereby individuals consider the incentives to work in all future years. We find that forward-looking incentive measures for Social Security are significant determinants of retirement. We also find that private pension incentives have roughly similar effects. Our findings suggest that Social Security policies that increase the incentives to work at older ages can significantly reduce the labor force exit rate of older workers.

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