Determinants of economic well-being among men 25-44, 45-64, and 65 + were examined using data from the 1984 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation. A path analysis explored race, education, and occupational history effects on income adjusted for annuitized assets, household composition, and underreporting of unearned income. Direct and total education effects were undiminished among elderly persons, whose income derived mainly from benefits and assets, as compared with the nonelderly subjects whose income was dominated by earnings; education explained more of the variance in adjusted income for the elderly group than for the nonelderly. While Social Security income exerts an equalizing effect across educational attainment groups, private pensions and other important retirement income sources were highly education-dependent, producing a high overall degree of stratification on early-established socioeconomic characteristics.
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