Conferences at Department of Economics, University of Toronto, RCEF 2012: Cities, Open Economies, and Public Policy

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Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) Status Amongst the Retired Population: An Analysis of the Incidence

David Gray*, Ross Finnie

Last modified: 2012-06-26


Given the scant labour market opportunities that are available for workers that are considered to be of normal retirement age or older (i.e 65 years or older), and given the shriveling safety net in the form of private pensions, the income security of retired Canadians is of grave concern.  Our focus is on the receipt of low-income support benefits amongst this group.  The primary topics of our project are the incidence of receipt of payment amongst this population and the dynamics of entries and exits from this state.  Our analysis is in the spirit of the poverty/low-income literature that is fairly developed in regards to the working-age population, and we intend to borrow some of the empirical techniques that are applied in that literature in our analysis.  In a point of departure from that literature, however, to take a retrospective approach by including in our analysis several phases of the life cycle.  Our metric for low-income support is a direct measure of a governmental intervention that is designed to address poverty amongst the retired population, namely the GIS (guaranteed income security) benefit.  The GIS regime is the only means-tested public retirement benefit that is targeted to the group of retired individuals and couples who are deemed to be the neediest, and thus constitutes a quintessential ‘safety net’ type provision.   We estimate multivariate econometric models of the incidence of receipt among the eligible population, as well as hazard models of both entry and exit from that state.   

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