Social Security and Retirement Programs Around the World: The Capacity to Work at Older Ages – Introduction and Summary

32 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2016

See all articles by Courtney Coile

Courtney Coile

Wellesley College; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kevin S. Milligan

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David A. Wise

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

This is the introduction and summary to the seventh phase of an ongoing project on Social Security Programs and Retirement Around the World. The project compares the experiences of a dozen developed countries and uses differences in their retirement program provisions to explore the effect of SS on retirement and related questions. The first three phases of this project document that: 1) incentives for retirement from SS are strongly correlated with labor force participation rates across countries; 2) within countries, workers with stronger incentives to delay retirement are more likely to do so; and 3) changes to SS could have substantial effects on labor force participation and government finances. The fourth volume explores whether higher employment among older persons might increase youth unemployment and finds no link between the two. The fifth and sixth volumes focus on the disability insurance (DI) program, finding that changes in DI participation are more closely linked to DI reforms than to changes in health and that reducing access to DI would raise labor supply. This seventh phase of the project explores whether older people are healthy enough to work longer. We use two main methods to estimate the health capacity to work, asking how much older individuals today could work if they worked as much as those with the same mortality rate in the past or as younger individuals in similar health. Both methods suggest there is significant additional health capacity to work at older ages.

Suggested Citation

Coile, Courtney and Milligan, Kevin S. and Wise, David A., Social Security and Retirement Programs Around the World: The Capacity to Work at Older Ages – Introduction and Summary (January 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21939. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2725717

Courtney Coile (Contact Author)

Wellesley College ( email )

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02181
United States
781-283-2408 (Phone)
781-283-2177 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kevin S. Milligan

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Canada

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David A. Wise

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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