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Author:Johnson, Richard 

Working Paper
Effects of old-age insurance on female retirement : evidence from cross-country time-series data

I examine the effect of Old-Age Insurance (OAI) on older women?s labour-force participation in fourteen countries since around 1930. Older women?s participation has risen in the US, but has fallen over time in some European countries. The discontinuity of incentives at the state pension age helps separate OAI?s effects from those of social mores and husbands? retirements. Clear effects of OAI on female retirement emerge slowly in time series. I find that, were Germany to adopt the US Social Security system, the participation rate of German women aged 60-4 would increase by 7 percentage points.
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 01-08

Working Paper
Portfolio choice in tax-deferred and Roth-type savings accounts

This paper uses numerical methods to compare optimal portfolios in tax-deferred and Roth-type savings accounts. Income and payroll taxes affect optimal portfolios in tax-deferred and Roth-type plans differently. For workers with assets in only one type of plan, the optimal equity share in a tax-deferred account could be higher or lower than in a Roth, depending on initial wealth. The differences in optimal portfolios between plans are large at short investment horizons but smaller at longer horizons. This paper also studies the 'asset location' decision of workers with assets in plans of both ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 03-08

Working Paper
Fiscal reaction rules in numerical macro models

To avoid exploding government debt, numerical macro models require ?fiscal reaction rules?. Present rules impose arbitrary, backward-looking reaction of taxes to deviations of the debt ratio from a target. Arbitrary models may be poor guides to monetary policy. An optimising fiscal policy-maker would look forward, and maximise an objective function. A simple optimising model implies the future tax rate should be constant. I implement the constant-future-tax rule in the IMF?s MULTIMOD model. Simulations show model outcomes? sensitivity to the choice of fiscal rule. A constant tax rate induces ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 01-01

Working Paper
The birth and growth of the social-insurance state : explaining old-age and medical insurance across countries

We seek to explain why countries have adopted national Old-Age Insurance and Health Insurance programs. Theoretical work has posited several factors that could lead to this adoption: the strain from expanding capitalism; the need for political legitimacy; the desire to transfer to similar people; increased wealth; and the outcome of leviathan government. We relate the probability of a country?s creating social insurance to proxies for each of these theories. We find weak evidence that the probability of adopting a system declines with increases in wealth and with greater ethnic heterogeneity. ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 01-13

Working Paper
The effect of old-age insurance on male retirement : evidence from historical cross-country data

I examine the effect of Old-Age Insurance systems on the labour supply of older men. Male retirement ages are crucial to the solvency of OAI systems. Historical data on participation rates and OAI rules in thirteen developed countries show rapid falls in participation among men aged 60-4 after pensions were extended to them. I estimate participation elasticities of -0.06 with respect to replacement rates and 0.19 to the net-of-tax wage. It does not appear that endogenous OAI changes bias the regression coefficients. The growth of OAI explains about 11 percent of the reduction in participation ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 00-09

Journal Article
Small business lending by commercial banks in Colorado : 1994 to 1996

The structure of Colorado's banking industry has recently undergone significant change and, therefore, provides a good case study with which to gauge the impact of consolidation on sources of loans and access to credit for small business. We find that between 1994 and 1996, lending to small businesses in Colorado by small to medium size banking organizations grew much faster than lending by large organizations. This lending pattern was similar across in-state and out-of-state banking organizations. Thus, the difference is largely driven by size rather than by the location of the ...
Financial Industry Perspectives , Issue May , Pages 17-33

Journal Article
The puzzle of later male retirement

For decades until 1985, the share of older American men who worked for pay trended downward. Since 1985, though, that share has been stable or rising. By 2001, the new trend in male retirement behavior had added 2 million workers to the U.S. labor force. Since the number of older men in the United States will increase dramatically as the baby-boom generation ages, the new trend could become even more significant for the U.S. economy in the future.> Understanding male retirement behavior is important to both monetary and fiscal policymakers. Later retirement affects monetary policy by ...
Economic Review , Volume 87 , Issue Q III , Pages 5-26

Journal Article
Economic policy implications of world demographic change

Demographic changes over the next 50 years will affect the world economy in many ways. Some of these effects will be beneficial. In developing countries, for example, falling birthrates will enable women to supply more paid labor and families to invest more in the education of each child. Other demographic changes will cause economic problems. In developed countries, population aging is likely to imply government pension systems cannot continue with their current rules. Population growth in developing countries could also change patterns of world trade and thereby reduce the wages of some ...
Economic Review , Volume 89 , Issue Q I , Pages 39-64

Working Paper
An examination of rating agencies' actions around the investment-grade boundary

Data on credit ratings by the agencies with the legal status of Nationally-Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSROs) show some tendency for one-day downgrades that start from the lowest investment grade, BBB-, to travel more grades than those from neighboring grades. This would be consistent with the lower threshold of the NRSROs' grade BBB- being at a substantial default probability, but also could occur simply because downgrades to junk severely impair some firms' operations. A comparison of data from a non-NRSRO agency and an NRSRO shows that the latter's regrades from BBB- ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 03-01

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