NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

"Will Social Security Be There For You?": How Americans Perceive Their Benefits

Jeff Dominitz, Charles F. Manski, Jordan Heinz

NBER Working Paper No. 9798
Issued in June 2003
NBER Program(s):   PE

Americans may be uncertain of their future Social Security benefits for several reasons, including uncertainty about their future labor earnings, the formula now determining Social Security benefits, and the future structure of the Social Security system. To learn how Americans perceive their benefits, we have elicited Social Security expectations from respondents to the Survey of Economic Expectations. We have also performed a more intensive face-to-face survey on a small sample of respondents. We find clear and striking evidence of substantial uncertainty and heterogeneity of beliefs about the long-term existence of the Social Security system and about the level of benefits provided should the system survive.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9798

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