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Stylized Facts And Incentive Effects Related To Claiming of Retirement Benefits Based On Social Security Administration Data

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Executive Summary

The authors rely on the Master Beneficiary File to document a number of facts regarding claiming of Social Security benefits and quality of date of birth data in administrative files. They then assess the impact of changes in retirement incentives that have taken place since 2000 on claiming. They find evidence of non-trivial misreporting or clerical errors in the dates of births that give rise to systematic patterns but nevertheless appear to be fairly random. They also confirm significant tendency to claim in January or on birthdays, but they find that these patterns are still sensitive to incentive effects.

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