No Claim, No Pain: Measuring the Non-Take-up of Social Assistance Using Register Data
AbstractThe main objectives of social assistance benefits, including poverty alleviation and labor-market or social reintegration, can be seriously compromised if support is difficult to access. While recent studies point to high non-take-up rates, existing evidence does not make full use of the information recorded by benefit agencies. Most studies have to rely on interview-based data, with misreporting and measurement errors affecting the variables needed to establish both benefit receipt and benefit entitlement. In this paper, we exploit a unique combination of Finnish administrative data and eligibility simulations based on the tax-benefit calculator of the Finnish authorities, carefully investigating the measurement issues that remain. We find rates of non-take-up that are both substantial and robust: 40% to 50% of those eligible do not claim. Using repeated cross-section estimations for years 1996-2003, we identify a set of stable determinants of claiming behavior and suggest that changes in behavior could drive the observed downward trend in take-up rates during the post-recession period. We discuss the poverty implications of our results.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5355.
Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Economic Inequality, 2012, 10 (3), 375 - 395
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Other versions of this item:
- Olivier Bargain & Herwig Immervoll & Heikki Viitamäki, 2012. "No claim, no pain. Measuring the non-take-up of social assistance using register data," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 375-395, September.
- Olivier Bargain & Herwig Immervoll & Heikki Viitamäki, 2009. "No Claim, No Pain - Measuring the Non-Take-up of Social Assistance using Register Data," Working Papers 200931, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
- H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
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