NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Elizabeth T.. Powers

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December 2001The Supplemental Security Income Program and Incentives to Take Up Social Security Early Retirement: Empirical Evidence from Matched SIPP and Social..
with David Neumark: w8670
Features of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and the social security retirement system may interact in a manner that creates incentives for prospective SSI recipients to take social security early retirement (SSER). This paper takes a first close look at this issue. The work disincentives posed by SSI rules and the potential interactions between the SSI and SSER programs are outlined in a basic theoretical framework. The hypotheses that emerge can be tested using public-use microdata linked to Social Security Administration records. We first present evidence supporting the hypothesis that SSI rules induce prospective SSI recipients to substantially reduce work activity (by various measures) prior to age 65. We then present two types of evidence on SSI-SSER interactions. We do...
November 1998Welfare for the Elderly: The Effects of SSI on Pre-Retirement Labor Supply
with David Neumark: w6805
The elderly are one of the exceptional groups in American society with access to a significant cash safety net, a means-tested program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Little attention has been paid to the pre-eligibility-age labor market disincentives created by such a program. In particular, asset and income limits might induce individuals nearing the eligibility age to work less. There is little if any hard evidence on such incentive effects. We exploit variation in states' supplementation of the federal SSI benefit to estimate the effects of the SSI program on pre-retirement labor supply, using data from the 1984, 1990, and 1991 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. We find some evidence that generous SSI benefits reduce the pre-retirement labor suppl...
December 1997The Effect of Means-Tested Income Support for the Elderly on Pre-Retirement Saving: Evidence from the SSI Program in the U.S.
with David Neumark: w6303
We attempt to draw inferences about potential behavioral responses to means-tested" income support for the elderly by examining the effects on saving of the Supplemental Security" Income (SSI) program for the aged in the U.S. Part of the SSI program provides payments to the" poor elderly, thus operating as a means-tested public retirement program. The federal" government sets eligibility criteria and benefit levels for the federal component of the program but many states supplement federal SSI benefits substantially. We exploit the state-level" variation in SSI benefits to estimate the effects of SSI on saving. We use data from selected" waves of the 1984 Survey of Income Program Participation (SIPP). We find evidence that high" SSI benefits reduce saving among households with heads wh...

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