NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Social Security and the Evolution of Elderly Poverty

Gary V. Engelhardt, Jonathan Gruber

NBER Working Paper No. 10466
Issued in May 2004
NBER Program(s):   AG   PE

We use data from the March 1968-2001 Current Population Surveys to document the evolution of elderly poverty over this time period, and to assess the causal role of the Social Security program in reducing poverty rates. We develop an instrumental variable approach that relies on the large increase in benefits for birth cohorts from 1885 through 1916, and the subsequent decline and flattening of real benefits growth due to the Social Securing 'notch', to estimate of Social Security on elderly poverty. Our findings suggest that over all elderly families the elasticity of poverty to benefits is roughly unitary. This suggests that reductions in Social Security benefits would significantly alter the poverty of the elderly.

download in pdf format
   (324 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (324 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10466

Published: Auerbach, Alan, David Card and John Quigley (eds.) Public Policy and the Income Distribution. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Deaton and Paxson w5296 Measuring Poverty Among the Elderly
Engelhardt, Gruber, and Perry w8911 Social Security and Elderly Living Arrangements
Acharya, Gale, and Yorulmazer w15674 Rollover Risk and Market Freezes
Diamond and Gruber Social Security and Retirement in the United States
Milligan and Wise w16719 Social Security and Retirement around the World: Historical Trends in Mortality and Health, Employment, and Disability Insurance Participation and Reforms - Introduction and Summary
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us