Impacts from Delaying Access to Retirement Benefits on Welfare Receipt and Expenditure: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 20/16

Date: 2016

Author(s):

Umut Oguzoglu
Cain Polidano
Ha Vu

Abstract

Governments are responding to fiscal pressures associated with aging populations by increasing the eligibility age for publicly-funded retirement benefits. However, recent studies show large resulting increases in the receipt of disability and unemployment benefits, which raises concern that welfare savings are offset by increased inflows into alternative payments. Using administrative data to examine the impacts of female eligibility age increases in Australia, we find little evidence of this. Instead, most of the increase is because the delay mechanically extends the receipt time of people already on alternative payments. The implication is that fiscal savings are not jeopardized by opportunistic behaviour.

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  • Welfare substitution, retirement, aging population