Social Security and Retirement Around the World: Lessons from a Long-Term Collaboration
The decline in the labor force participation of older men throughout the 20th century, as well as the substantial increases in participation among older men and women over the past two decades, have generated substantial interest in understanding the effect of public pension programs on retirement decisions. This paper details the work of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s International Social Security (ISS) Project, a long-term collaboration among researchers in a dozen developed countries, to explore this and related questions. The ISS project employs a harmonized approach to conduct within-country analyses that can be combined for meaningful cross-country comparisons. The key lesson learned from this project is that the choices of policy makers affect the incentive to work at older ages and that these incentives have important effects on retirement behavior.
Corresponding author: Courtney Coile (email@example.com). See Appendix A for author affiliations. The authors acknowledge funding from NETSPAR through contract CRG2019.02 to Utrecht University. The research reported herein was derived in whole or in part from research activities performed pursuant to to grant RDR18000003 from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) funded as part of the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium. The opinions and conclusions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not represent the opinions or policy of SSA, any agency of the Federal Government, or NBER. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the contents of this report. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof.
This paper draws on work performed through the NBER International Social Security (ISS) Project over the past two decades. The ISS Project has received financial support from the National Institute on Aging (P01-AG005842 and P30-AG012810), the US Social Security Administration (6 RRC08098400-09), and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (G-2017-9697). The project was founded and directed by Jonathan Gruber and David Wise (1995-2009) and later directed solely by David Wise (2009-2016). The project is currently directed by Axel Börsch-Supan and Courtney Coile (2016-). The project directors thank Janet Stein and Dick Woodbury of the NBER for invaluable project support over many years. The authors thank participants in the Netspar International Pension Workshop, particularly Kees Goudswaard, for helpful comments.