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Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors

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  • Kreider, Brent
  • Pepper, John V.

Abstract

Measurement error in health and disability status has been widely accepted as a central problem for social science research. Long-standing debates about the prevalence of disability, the role of health in labor market outcomes, and the influence of federal disability policy on declining employment rates have all emphasized issues regarding the reliability of self-reported disability. In addition to random error, inaccuracy in survey datasets may be produced by a host of economic, social, and psychological factors that can lead respondents to misreport work capacity. We develop a nonparametric foundation for assessing how assumptions on the reporting error process affect inferences on the employment gap between the disabled and nondisabled. Rather than imposing the strong assumptions required to obtain point identification, we derive sets of bounds that formalize the identifying power of primitive nonparametric assumptions that appear to share broad consensus in the literature. Within this framework, we introduce a finite-sample correction for the analog estimator of the monotone instrumental variable (MIV) bound. Our empirical results suggest that conclusions derived from conventional latent variable reporting error models may be driven largely by ad hoc distributional and functional form restrictions. Under relatively weak nonparametric assumptions, nonworkers appear to systematically overreport disability.

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File URL: http://www.econ.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/papers/p4608-2003-03-24.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 10229.

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Date of creation: 24 Mar 2003
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Publication status: Published in Journal of the American Statistical Association, June 2007, vol. 102 no. 478, pp. 432-441
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:10229

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Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
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Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. Joel L. Horowitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Censoring of Outcomes and Regressors Due To Survey Nonresponse: Identification and Estimation Using Weights and Imputations," Econometrics 9602007, EconWPA, revised 06 Mar 1996.
  2. Haveman, Robert H & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 532-41, June.
  3. Parsons, Donald O, 1984. "Disability Insurance and Male Labor Force Participation: A Response," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 542-49, June.
  4. Bound, John, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1427-34, December.
  5. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 1998. "Monotone Instrumental Variables: With an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Virginia Economics Online Papers 308, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  6. Berkovec, James & Stern, Steven, 1991. "Job Exit Behavior of Older Men," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 189-210, January.
  7. Chirikos, Thomas N. & Nestel, Gilbert, 1984. "Economic determinants and consequences of self-reported work disability," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 117-136, August.
  8. John Bound & Michael Schoenbaum & Timothy Waidmann, 1995. "Race and Education Differences in Disability Status and Labor Force Attachment," NBER Working Papers 5159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," NBER Chapters, in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. John Pepper & Brent Kreider, 2001. "Inferring Disability Status from Corrupt Data," Virginia Economics Online Papers 354, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  11. Hanoch, Giora & Honig, Marjorie, 1983. "Retirement, Wages, and Labor Supply of the Elderly," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(2), pages 131-51, April.
  12. Debra Sabatini Dwyer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1998. "Health Problems as Determinants of Retirement: Are Self-Rated Measures Endogenous?," NBER Working Papers 6503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Michael J. Boskin & Michael D. Hurd, 1980. "The Effect of Social Security on Early Retirement," NBER Working Papers 0204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
  15. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2000. "How Large is the Bias in Self-Reported Disability?," Working Papers 2000-01, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  16. Parsons, Donald O, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1419-26, December.
  17. Brent Kreider, 1999. "Latent Work Disability and Reporting Bias," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 734-769.
  18. Kathryn H. Anderson & Richard V. Burkhauser, 1985. "The Retirement-Health Nexus: A New Measure of an Old Puzzle," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(3), pages 315-330.
  19. Anderson, Kathryn H. & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1984. "The importance of the measure of health in empirical estimates of the labor supply of older men," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 375-380.
  20. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528 Elsevier.
  21. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
  22. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  23. Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
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