Social Security and Retirement in the U.S.
The largest entitlement program in the United States today is the Social Security program (SS). We provide an overview of the interaction between the SS system and retirement behavior. We begin by documenting historical trends in labor force participation and program receipt, and contemporaneous patterns of work and income receipt for the current cohort of older persons. We then present an overview of the structure of the SS program in the U.S., and review existing evidence on the relationship between SS and retirement. Finally, we present results of a simulation model which measures the implicit tax/subsidy rate on work after age 55 through the SS system. We find that, for married workers, the system is roughly neutral with respect to work after age 62, but that it heavily penalizes work after age 65. But there are larger tax rates on single workers and on high earning workers.
Published: Gruber and Wise (eds.) Social Security and Retirement around the World. University of Chicago Press, 1998.