Author(s)  
Damon Jones, Alexander M. Gelber, Daniel W. Sacks, Jae Song

We develop a method for estimating the effect of a kinked budget set on workers' employment decisions, and we use it to estimate the impact of the Social Security Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Annual Earnings Test (AET). The AET reduces OASI claimants' current OASI benefits in proportion to their earnings in excess of an exempt amount. Using a Regression Kink Design and Social Security Administration data, we document that the discontinuous change in the benefit reduction rate at the exempt amount causes a corresponding change in the employment rate. We develop conditions in a general setting under which we can use such patterns to estimate the elasticity of the employment rate with respect to the effective average net-of-tax rate. Our resulting elasticity point estimate for the AET is at least 0.49, suggesting that the AET reduces employment by more than one percentage point in the group we study.

JEL Codes  
H24: Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes
H31: Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household
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
Keywords  
social security
elasticity of employment rate
Annual Earnings Test