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Social Security and the Timing of Divorce

Gopi Goda, John Shoven () and Sita Slavov
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John Shoven: Stanford Institue for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University

No 08-057, Discussion Papers from Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

Abstract: The Social Security system contains many features designed to provide an adequate retirement income for familes, rather than just individual retired workers. The most important of these features is the spousal benefit, under which secondary earners are entitled to receive a monthly payment of 50 percent of their spouse's monthly Social Security benefit. However, shifts in family structure since the creation of the Social Security program have led to criticisms of the spousal benefit on equity grounds. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) Marital History File, this paper focuses on one specific implication: Social Security's divorce rules. We find that vulnerable couples are more likely to delay divorce in order to recieve spousal benefits, however the difference is small and statistically insignificant.

Keywords: Social Security; divorce; spousal benefit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009-08
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Working Paper: Social Security and the Timing of Divorce (2007) Downloads
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