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An Assessment of EI and SA Reporting in SLID


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  • Kapsalis, Costa


This study assesses two potential problems with respect to the reporting of Employment Insurance (EI) and Social Assistance (SA) benefits in the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID): (a) under-reporting of the monthly number of beneficiaries; and (b) a tendency to incorrectly report receiving benefits throughout the year, while in fact benefits may have been received only in certain months, leading to artificial spikes in the January starts and December terminations of benefit spells (seam effect). The results of the analysis show the following: (1) The rate of under-reporting of EI in SLID is about 15%. Although it varies by month (from 0% to 30%), it is fairly stable from year to year. (2) There are significant spikes in the number of January starts and December terminations of EI benefit spells. However, the spikes in January starts appear to represent a real phenomenon, rather than a seam problem. They mirror closely the pattern of establishment of new EI claims (the latter increase significantly in January as a result of the decline in employment following the Christmas peak demand). There are no corresponding statistics for EI claim terminations to assess the nature of December spikes. (3) The rate of under-reporting of SA in SLID is about 50%, significantly greater than for EI. The rate of under-reporting goes down to about 20% to 30%, if we assume that those who received SA, but did not report in which months they received benefits, received benefits throughout the year. (4) There are large spikes in the number of January starts and December terminations. As in the case of EI, the SA could reflect a real phenomenon. After all, SA starts and terminations are affected by labour market conditions, in the same way EI starts and terminations are affected. However, the SA spikes are much larger than the EI spikes, which increases the probability that, at least in part, are due to a seam effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch in its series Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series with number 2001166e.

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Date of creation: 11 Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp3e:2001166e

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Keywords: Employment insurance; social assistance and other transfers; Labour; Quality assurance; Statistical methods;


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Cited by:
  1. Milligan, Kevin & Lemieux, Thomas, 2006. "Incentive Effects of Social Assistance: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2006280e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  2. Nathan Berg & Todd Gabel, 2013. "Effects of New Welfare Reform Strategies on Welfare Participation: Microdata Estimates from Canada," Working Papers 1304, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2013.
  3. Hansen, Jörgen & Lofstrom, Magnus & Zhang, Xuelin, 2006. "State Dependence in Canadian Welfare Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 2266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Picot, Garnett & Green, David A. & Frenette, Marc, 2004. "Rising Income Inequality in the 1990s: An Exploration of Three Data Sources," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2004219e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  5. Picot, Garnett & Frenette, Marc, 2003. "Life After Welfare: The Economic Well-being of Welfare Leavers in Canada During the 1990s," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003192e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
  6. Kapsalis, Constantine & Tourigny, Pierre, 2002. "Profiles and Transitions of Groups at Risk of Social Exclusion: Lone Parents," MPRA Paper 25751, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Garnett Picot & René Morissette & John Myles, 2003. "Low-Income Intensity During the 1990s: The Role of Economic Growth, Employment Earnings and Social Transfers," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 29(s1), pages 15-40, January.
  8. Picot, Garnett & Morissette, Rene & Myles, John, 2003. "Low-income Intensity During the 1990s: The Role of Economic Growth, Employment Earnings and Social Transfers," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003172e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.


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