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 School Of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200931.
Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 08 Dec 2009
Date of revision:
take-up; social assistance; poverty; register data;
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.
- Bargain, Olivier & Immervoll, Herwig & Viitamäki, Heikki, 2010. "No Claim, No Pain: Measuring the Non-Take-up of Social Assistance Using Register Data," IZA Discussion Papers 5355, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- 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
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