Shanthi Ramnath

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

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Institutional Affiliation: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2019Market Inefficiency and Household Labor Supply: Evidence from Social Security’s Survivors Benefits
with Itzik Fadlon, Patricia K. Tong: w25586
We study the effects of the Social Security survivors benefits program on household labor supply and the efficiency implications for insurance and credit markets. We use U.S. population tax records and exploit a sharp age discontinuity in benefit eligibility for identification. We find that eligibility induces considerable reductions in labor supply both among newly-widowed households in the immediate post-shock periods and among already-widowed households whose benefit receipt is entirely predictable. The evidence points to liquidity constraints, rather than myopia, as a leading operative mechanism underlying household responses to anticipated benefits. Our findings identify important inefficiencies in the life insurance market and in the allocation of credit. Our results further highligh...
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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