American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 3 (May 2011)


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Recessions, Retirement, and Social Security

Article Citation

Coile, Courtney C., and Phillip B. Levine. 2011. "Recessions, Retirement, and Social Security." American Economic Review, 101(3): 23-28.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.3.23


This paper examines how labor market fluctuations around the time of retirement affect the labor force status and Social Security receipt of individuals ages 55 to 69 and the income of retirees in their 70s, using data from the March Current Population Survey, Census, and American Community Surveys. We find that workers are more likely to leave the labor force, to collect Social Security earlier, and to have lower Social Security income when they face a recession near retirement. The impact is greatest for the less-educated, who are more susceptible to job loss and rely more heavily on Social Security.

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Coile, Courtney C. (Wellesley College)
Levine, Phillip B. (Wellesley College)

JEL Classifications

H55: Social Security and Public Pensions
J14: Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination
J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply
J26: Retirement; Retirement Policies

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