Assessing the Distributional Effects of SSA Programs using Linked Income & Consumption Survey Data


Investigator: Bruce D. Meyer (University of Chicago and NBER)

This project examines the distributional effects of Social Security and other social insurance programs for older people and people with disabilities. It integrates administrative and survey data in a way that more accurately captures income, assets and benefit payments, which are commonly underreported in stand-alone survey data. The project also focuses on the consumption of recipient households, an arguably more relevant measure of people’s standard of living than even well-measured income. For some portion of retirees and people with disabilities, for example, past saving and ownership of key durables like a home and a car are available to supplement current income – thus providing for a higher living standard than suggested by income measures alone.

Social Security (OASI and DI)
Measuring sources of income and adequacy
Social Security