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Transfers and Labor Market Behavior of the Elderly in Developing Countries: Theory and Evidence from Vietnam


Chung Tran


Australian National University (ANU) - School of Economics

Juergen Jung


Towson University - Department of Economics

August 29, 2009

CAEPR Working Paper No. 2008-018

Abstract:     
When private transfers respond endogenously to the retirement decision of the elderly, they directly lower the opportunity cost of not working and magnify the income effect of public transfers. In this paper we show that the interaction of private transfers with the labor market decision of the elderly indeed magnifies the crowding-out effects of public transfers on the elderly’s labor supply (or retirement choice) in developing countries. We also find that this economic mechanism has important implications for evaluating the crowding-out effect of public transfers in developing countries, where there are large flows of private transfers within and between households. More specifically, we show that a misspecified econometric model that does not control for the endogeneity of private transfers leads to a biased estimate of the crowding-out effect of public pensions on the elderly’s retirement decision. Using data from a household survey in Vietnam we find that the effect of public pensions on the probability of retirement is 2.5 times larger when explicitly accounting for the interaction between private transfers and the retirement decision of elderly individuals.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

Keywords: Private Transfers, Retirement, Social Security, Crowding-out Effects, Altruism

JEL Classification: H31, H55, I38, J14, J22, J28

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Date posted: June 19, 2008 ; Last revised: June 28, 2010

Suggested Citation

Tran, Chung and Jung, Juergen, Transfers and Labor Market Behavior of the Elderly in Developing Countries: Theory and Evidence from Vietnam (August 29, 2009). CAEPR Working Paper No. 2008-018. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1147649 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1147649

Contact Information

Chung Tran (Contact Author)
Australian National University (ANU) - School of Economics ( email )
Arndt Building 25B
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia
Juergen Jung
Towson University - Department of Economics ( email )
Baltimore, MD
United States
812-345-9182 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://pages.towson.edu/jjung/
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