The Hidden Resources of Women Working Longer: Evidence from Linked Survey-Administrative Data

42 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016 Last revised: 26 Nov 2018

See all articles by Adam Bee

Adam Bee

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of the Census

Joshua Mitchell

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of the Census

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

Despite women’s increased labor force attachment over the lifecycle, household surveys such as the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) do not show increases in retirement income (pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs) for women at older ages. We use linked survey-administrative data to demonstrate that retirement incomes are considerably underreported in the CPS ASEC and that women’s economic progress at older ages has been substantially understated over the last quarter century. Specifically, the CPS ASEC shows median household income for women age 65-69 rose 21 percent since the late 1980s, while the administrative records show an increase of 58 percent. Survey biases in women’s own incomes appear largest for women with the longest work histories. We also exploit the panel dimension of our data to follow a cohort of women and their spouses (if present) as they transition into retirement in recent years. In contrast to previous work, we find that most women do not experience noticeable drops in income up to five years after claiming social security, with retirement income playing an important role in maintaining their overall standard of living. Our results pose a challenge to the literature on the “retirement consumption puzzle” and suggest total income replacement rates are high for recent retirees.

Suggested Citation

Bee, Adam and Mitchell, Joshua, The Hidden Resources of Women Working Longer: Evidence from Linked Survey-Administrative Data (December 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22970. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2890102

Adam Bee (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of the Census ( email )

Joshua Mitchell

Government of the United States of America - Bureau of the Census ( email )

4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
United States

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