NBER

Shanthi P. Ramnath

Office of Tax Analysis
US Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington DC, 20220

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Department of the Treasury

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2019Household Responses to Transfers and Liquidity: Evidence from Social Security’s Survivors Benefits
with Itzik Fadlon, Patricia K. Tong: w25586
We use administrative tax data that cover the U.S. population to identify the causal effects of Social Security’s survivors benefit receipt on American families’ behavior and financial well-being. We analyze over a quarter of a million widowed households in which the husband died between 2002-2007, and we exploit a sharp age discontinuity in benefit eligibility to study the responses of financially vulnerable households to government transfers. We first study how households respond to unanticipated benefit receipt in the immediate periods following a large financial shock to investigate the protective role of transfers. We find significant impacts of the program on newly-widowed families’ net income and labor supply behavior, which points to considerable allocative inefficiencies in the li...
June 2017Pathways to Retirement through Self-Employment
with John B. Shoven, Sita Nataraj Slavov: w23551
We examine the role of self-employment in retirement transitions using a panel of administrative tax data. We find that the hazard of self-employment increases at popular retirement ages associated with Social Security eligibility, particularly for those with greater retirement wealth. Late-career transitions to self-employment are associated with a larger drop in income than similar mid-career transitions. Data from the Health and Retirement Study suggest that hours worked also fall upon switching to self-employment. These results suggest that self-employment at older ages may serve as a “bridge job,” allowing workers to gradually reduce hours and earnings along the pathway to retirement.
September 2015The Financial Feasibility of Delaying Social Security: Evidence from Administrative Tax Data
with Gopi Shah Goda, John B. Shoven, Sita Nataraj Slavov: w21544
Despite the large and growing returns to deferring Social Security benefits, most individuals claim Social Security before the full retirement age, currently age 66. In this paper, we use a panel of administrative tax data on likely primary earners to explore some potential hypotheses of why individuals fail to delay claiming Social Security, including liquidity constraints and private information regarding one’s expected future lifetime. We find that approximately 31-34% of beneficiaries who claim prior to the full retirement age have assets in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) that would fund at least 2 additional years of Social Security benefits, and 24-26% could fund at least 4 years of Social Security deferral with IRA assets alone. Our analysis suggests that these percentages...

Published: GOPI SHAH GODA & SHANTHI RAMNATH & JOHN B. SHOVEN & SITA NATARAJ SLAVOV, 2018. "The financial feasibility of delaying Social Security: evidence from administrative tax data," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, vol 17(04), pages 419-436. citation courtesy of

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