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.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
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
Contact details of provider:
Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
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 and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Riphahn, Regina T, 2001. "Rational Poverty or Poor Rationality? The Take-Up Study of Social Assistance Benefits," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(3), pages 379-98, September.
- Rebecca M. Blank, 2000.
"What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?,"
JCPR Working Papers
18, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2008.
"Transfer Program Complexity and the Take Up of Social Benefits,"
NBER Working Papers
14301, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2011. "Transfer Program Complexity and the Take-Up of Social Benefits," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 54-90, February.
- Monica Hernandez & Stephen Pudney & Ruth Hancock, 2006. "The Welfare Cost of Means Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income," Working Papers 2006004, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2006.
- Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1995. "Modelling the take-up of state support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 391-415, November.
- Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-37, August.
- Pudney, Stephen & Monica Hernandez & Ruth Hancock, 2003.
"The Welfare Cost of Means-Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income Support,"
Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003
171, Royal Economic Society.
- Stephen Pudney & Monica Hernandez & Ruth Hancock, 2007. "The welfare cost of means-testing: pensioner participation in income support," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 581-598.
- Stephen Pudney & Monica Hernandez & Ruth Hancock, 2002. "The Welfare Cost of Means-Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income Support," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/2, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
- Hernandez, Monica & Pudney, Stephen & Hancock, Ruth, 2006. "The welfare cost of means-testing: pensioner participation in income support," ISER Working Paper Series 2006-12, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
- Virginia Hernanz & Franck Malherbet & Michele Pellizzari, 2004. "Take-Up of Welfare Benefits in OECD Countries: A Review of the Evidence," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 17, OECD Publishing.
- Ruth Hancock & Stephen Pudney & Geraldine Barker & Monica Hernandez & Holly Sutherland, 2003.
"The take-up of multiple means-tested benefits by British pensioners. Evidence from the Family Resources Survey,"
Discussion Papers in Economics
03/7, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
- Ruth Hancock & Stephen Pudney & Geraldine Barker & Monica Hernandez & Holly Sutherland, 2004. "The Take-Up of Multiple Means-Tested Benefits by British Pensioners: Evidence from the Family Resources Survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(3), pages 279-303, September.
- Brewer, M., 2003. "Estimating models of benefit take-up," Open Access publications from University College London http://discovery.ucl.ac.u, University College London.
- Glen Bramley & Sharon Lancaster & David Gordon, 2000. "Benefit Take-up and the Geography of Poverty in Scotland," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(6), pages 507-519.
- Hilke Almut Kayser & Joachim R. Frick, 2000. "Take It or Leave It: (Non-) Take-up Behavior of Social Assistance in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 210, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
- Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1996. "When Do Women Use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility Versus Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 57-89.
- Natascha Van Mechelen & Sarah Marchal & Tim Goedemé & Ive Marx & Bea Cantillon, 2011. "The CSB-Minimum Income Protection Indicators dataset (CSB-MIPI)," Working Papers 1105, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.