Social Security, Endogenous Retirement and Intra-household Cooperation

We model the retirement incentives induced by the U.S. Social Security system in a framework which allows for different degrees of cooperation and strategic interaction between spouses.

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Abstract. This paper studies the retirement incentives induced by the U.S. Social Security system in a framework which allows for different degrees of cooperation and strategic interaction between spouses. We develop a model in which spouses maximize joint household utility, subject to the additional constraint that neither partner  finds it optimal to deviate from the best constrained household allocation. We show that accounting for \non- cooperative” behavior through this additional constraint can rationalize various choices of older couples observed in the 1932-42 cohort of the Health and Retirement Study. Non-cooperative behavior helps with two puzzles in the retirement literature:  (i) the clustering of benefit claiming at age 62 despite significant gains associated to delayed claiming by husbands; and (ii) the joint benefit claiming of couples. We contrast our  findings to those from a unitary model of the household, extended to include a process for declining health, and show that the latter can rationalize neither early nor joint claiming behavior if individuals can independently make benefit and labor force participation decisions.

Citation

@techreport{turner2008social,
  title={Social Security, endogenous retirement and intrahousehold cooperation},
  author={Turner, Laura and Gallipoli, Giovanni and others},
  year={2013},
  institution={UBC Working paper}
}