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Social Security Reforms and Poverty among Older Dual-Earner Couples

Olivia S. Mitchell
Journal of Population Economics
Vol. 4, No. 4 (Nov., 1991), pp. 281-293
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20007348
Page Count: 13
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Social Security Reforms and Poverty among Older Dual-Earner Couples
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Abstract

Existing retirement studies have, in the main, focused only on labor supply decisions of couples in which the husband has been the sole earner. This paper extends the focus of analysis to examine retirement among dual-earner couples. It further develops a framework for assessing how several past and prospective Social Security reforms might be expected to affect older working couples' retirement ages and retirement incomes. Two questions are addressed in some detail: (1) What are the likely effects of various changes in Social Security rules on the retirement decisions of older working women and their husbands? and (2) How might these changes alter the incidence of poverty among retired dual-earner couples? Empirical evidence from the United States suggests that many benefit reforms currently being discussed in policy circles will enhance Social Security system revenues, but will also worsen the economic status of an important segment of dual-earner couples.

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