New NBER Research

24 October 2014

Workers Know More than You Think about Social Security Incentives

While the links between an individual's earnings history and subsequent Social Security benefits are complex, a survey of individuals between the ages of 50 and 70 by Jeffrey Liebman and Erzo Luttmer suggests high levels of understanding of the incentives for longer years’ work and higher wages. They find variation in the comprehension of other features, with the effects of delayed claiming well known, and the provisions surrounding spousal benefits less well understood.

23 October 2014

Gender Differences among Top Earners, 1981–2012

Despite substantial gains over the past 30 years, women still constitute a small proportion of top earners in the U.S., according to an analysis by Fatih Guvenen, Greg Kaplan, and Jae Song. In 1981–85, women constituted just 1.9 percent of the top 0.1 percent of earners; in 2008–12 they comprised 10 percent.

22 October 2014

Energy Efficiency Subsidies Had Little Impact

The “Cash for Appliances” program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, delivered $300 million to state governments to fund rebates to purchasers of energy-efficient appliances. Sébastien Houde and Joseph Aldy find the program did not have a meaningful impact on aggregate electricity consumption. They also find evidence the rebates may have induced some consumers to purchase larger appliances.

21 October 2014

Measuring the Effects of Consumer Bankruptcy Protection

Consumer bankruptcy is one of the largest social insurance programs in the United States. Will Dobbie and Jae Song analyze its impact on debtors using 500,000 bankruptcy filings matched to administrative tax and foreclosure data. They find that Chapter 13 protection increases annual earnings by $5,562, decreases five-year mortality by 1.2 percentage points, and decreases five-year foreclosure rates by 19.1 percentage points.
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