نقش اطلاعات برای رفتار بازنشستگی: بر اساس شواهد در مقدمه روش گام به گام از بیانیه امنیت اجتماعی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23891||2011||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Public Economics, Volume 95, Issues 7–8, August 2011, Pages 913–925
In 1995, the Social Security Administration started sending out the annual Social Security Statement. It contains information about the worker's estimated benefits at the ages 62, 65, and 70. I use this unique natural experiment to analyze the retirement and claiming decision making. First, I find that, despite the previous availability of information, the Statement has a significant impact on workers' knowledge about their benefits. These findings are consistent with a model where workers need to gather costly information in order to improve their retirement decision. Second, I use this exogenous variation in knowledge to analyze the optimality of workers' decisions. Several findings suggest that workers do not change their retirement behavior: i) Workers do not change their expected age of retirement after receiving the Statement; ii) monthly claiming patterns do not show any change after the introduction of the Social Security Statement; iii) workers do not become more sensitive to Social Security incentives after receiving the Statement. More research is needed to establish whether workers are already behaving optimally, but the information contained in the Statement is not sufficient to improve their retirement behavior.
Many older workers know little about their retirement benefits.1 To help workers make provisions for their retirement, the Social Security Administration (SSA) introduced the Social Security Statement in 1995. The Statement is a concise record of past earnings and a summary of estimated benefits as a function of different claiming ages. It is mailed to all workers paying payroll taxes, typically three months before their birthday. In 2008 the cost of sending an individual Statement was only about 36 cents, but given the large number of Statements sent each year, the total cost is 53 million dollars (SSAB, 2009). This paper evaluates whether sending the Statement increased workers' knowledge and influenced retirement behavior. The more general question is how workers make decisions, and to what extent these decisions change when workers are provided with additional information. In 1995 the SSA was required to mail the annual Statement—then named the Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement—to all workers age 60 and older and in later years it has been sent out in phases. The stepwise introduction allows me to identify the effect of the Statement controlling for age and time. Using The Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) data, I find that workers aged 55 to 64 who received the Statement and had not previously contacted SSA regarding their benefits are 20 percentage points (50%) more likely to be able to provide an estimate of their future benefits than workers that did not receive the Statement. While these are very large effects, if workers were behaving optimally this additional information would not substantially change workers' retirement or saving behavior. In contrast, some workers might just be procrastinating: the cost of becoming informed and learning the optimal retirement age and savings are borne upfront, while the corresponding utility gains are received only sometime later. Workers with high discount rates should, therefore, seek information later. For these workers, the Social Security Statement might actually induce changes in behavior. I use three different ways to measure changes in behavior. First, I look at whether workers are more likely to update their retirement plans upon receiving a Statement. Then, I check whether workers change their actual claiming behavior. Finally, I see whether workers are more likely to respond to the retirement incentives provided by the Social Security benefit formula after receiving a Statement.2 I find no evidence that receiving the first Statement induces workers to update their expectations. Social Security claiming patterns also show no change upon the introduction of the Statement. Retirement decisions do not become more sensitive to Social Security incentives. Overall, the results suggest that either workers were already behaving optimally or that the additional information provided by the Statement isn't sufficient to improve uninformed workers' retirement choices.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There is empirical evidence that a worker's retirement decision responds to forward-looking retirement incentives. These incentives depend on current and future earnings, and on retirement benefits. Social Security benefits, which represent the most important source of retirement income, are a complicated function lifetime earnings. It is generally assumed that workers know their benefits and are able to compute their retirement incentives. In order to understand whether this is a reasonable assumption I analyze workers' knowledge. Contacting the SSA represents the single most important channel through which workers learn about their future benefits. I model the probability of contacting the SSA and find evidence that is consistent with the existence of considerable costs of collecting (and processing) information about Social Security benefits: Workers who, for various reasons (health, liquidity, etc.), face simple retirement decisions are less likely to contact the SSA. Additional evidence confirming this result comes from the 1995 introduction of the Social Security Statements. These Statements, which contain an estimate of the worker's benefits if he/she retires at ages 62, 65, and 70, generate an exogenous variation in the cost of obtaining information. Upon receiving a Statement workers are more likely to be able to provide a benefit estimate and their benefit estimate tends to be more precise. Controlling for the endogeneity of the decision to contact the SSA, I find that the whole improvement is concentrated among those workers who don't contact the SSA. Then I turn to study how this additional information affects workers' retirement behavior. The introduction of the Statement doesn't improve the overall responsiveness to the retirement incentives. While this might at first seem disappointing given the 36 cents per Statement spent by the SSA, it might either mean that workers are already behaving optimally, with the marginal workers having only very small additional benefits from getting informed, or that the information contained in Statement is not sufficient to improve workers' retirement behavior.34 This calls for additional research. Moreover, the Statement might still improve the workers' ability to smooth their consumption upon retirement if workers become less likely to be positively or negatively surprised by the amount of the benefits, given that these surprises act like unexpected changes in the permanent income. This possibility also needs to be researched. One way to improve the information required to make better retirement decisions is to provide forecasted benefits at all 9 possible claiming ages, instead of just at 62, at the NRA, and at 70. Moreover, the Statement provides workers with information about their benefits, but it does not calculate a worker's SSW. If this weakens the beneficial effect of the Statement, a possible addition to the Statement could be a table that helps workers calculate their SSW. Since the SSA cannot possibly use individual-specific mortality rates, one easy way to circumvent this problem would be to construct a two-way table that contains “suggested” retirement ages as a function of a worker's expected own and spouse's life-expectancy.