Old-age benefits and retirement decisions of rural elderly in Brazil

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I estimate the impact of social security benefits on retirement decisions of rural workers by studying changes in the roles governing social security in Brazil. I focus on a 1991 reform, which brought a reduction in the minimum eligibility age for males and females, a doubling of benefit values and the extension of benefits to non-heads of households. Because beneficiaries are not subject to means or retirement tests, I estimate apure income effect. I find that a reduction in the minimum eligibility age for old-age benefits was an important determinant in the reduction in labor supply of elderly rural workers in Brazil. Finally, I find that benefit take-up rates are larger among the better educated, but least-schooled workers show the largest labor supply responses to the reform.

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