Lifetime Distributional Effects of Social Security Retirement Benefits

Research Report

Lifetime Distributional Effects of Social Security Retirement Benefits

Abstract

This paper presents alternative measures of actual and projected net benefits (benefits minus payroll taxes) from the Old and Survivors Insurance (OASI) component of Social Security, based on results from a microsimulation model. The simulations take into account marital histories, income, and tax-burden sharing within couples and differences in life expectancy among sub-groups of the population. We find that OASI is becoming more redistributive towards lower income groups over time, even as net benefits decline, mostly because of changing demographics and earnings patterns of the workforce.

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