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The Impact of Disability Benefits on Labor Supply: Evidence from the VA's Disability Compensation Program

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  • David H. Autor
  • Mark Duggan
  • Kyle Greenberg
  • David S. Lyle

Abstract

Combining administrative data from the US Army, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Social Security Administration, we analyze the effect of the VA's Disability Compensation (DC) program on veterans' labor force participation and earnings. We study the 2001 Agent Orange decision, a unique policy change that expanded DC eligibility for Vietnam veterans who served in theater but did not expand eligibility to other veterans of this era, to assess the causal effects of DC enrollment. We estimate that benefits receipt reduced veterans' labor force participation by 18 percentage points, though measured income net of transfer income rose on average.

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  • David H. Autor & Mark Duggan & Kyle Greenberg & David S. Lyle, 2016. "The Impact of Disability Benefits on Labor Supply: Evidence from the VA's Disability Compensation Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 31-68, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:31-68
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20150158
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    Cited by:

    1. Ivanov, Boris & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm & Pohlan, Laura, 2020. "Do job creation schemes improve the social integration and well-being of the long-term unemployed?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C).
    2. Courtney Coile & Mark Duggan & Audrey Guo, 2015. "Veterans' Labor Force Participation: What Role Does the VA's Disability Compensation Program Play?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 131-136, May.
    3. Cesur, Resul & Freidman, Travis & Sabia, Joseph J., 2020. "War, traumatic health shocks, and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 475-502.
    4. Koning, Pierre & van Sonsbeek, Jan-Maarten, 2017. "Making disability work? The effects of financial incentives on partially disabled workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 202-215.
    5. Kadir Atalay & Garry F. Barrett & Peter Siminski, 2019. "Pension incentives and the joint retirement of couples: evidence from two natural experiments," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(3), pages 735-767, July.
    6. Chiara Dal Bianco, 2019. "Labour Supply and Welfare Effects of Disability Insurance: A Survey," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 5(1), pages 161-189, March.
    7. Gordon B. Dahl & Anne (A.C.) Gielen, 2018. "Intergenerational Spillovers in Disability Insurance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-015/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Cesur, Resul & Sabia, Joseph J. & Tekin, Erdal, 2020. "Post-9/11 War Deployments Increased Crime among Veterans," IZA Discussion Papers 13304, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Katharine G. Abraham & Melissa S. Kearney, 2018. "Explaining the Decline in the U.S. Employment-to-Population Ratio: a Review of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 24333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Alexander Gelber & Timothy J. Moore & Alexander Strand, 2017. "The Effect of Disability Insurance Payments on Beneficiaries' Earnings," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 229-261, August.
    11. Masanori Kuroki, 2019. "The missing obese men? Labour force participation and obesity among prime-age men in the United States," Journal of Population Research, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 65-80, March.
    12. Francisco Perez-Arce & Maria J. Prados & Tarra Kohli, 2018. "The Decline in the U.S. Labor Force Participation Rate," Working Papers wp385, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    13. Axel Börsch-Supan & Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Felizia Hanemann, 2020. "Early Determinants of Work Disability in an International Perspective," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(5), pages 1853-1879, October.
    14. Michael Levere, "undated". "The Labor Market Consequences of Receiving Disability Benefits During Childhood," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4a4b6e2d970c4e669ba5f4126, Mathematica Policy Research.
    15. Axel Börsch-Supan & Tabea Bucher-Koenen & Felizia Hanemann, 2018. "Early Determinants of Work Disability in an International Perspective," NBER Working Papers 25142, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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    1. The Impact of Disability Benefits on Labor Supply: Evidence from the VA's Disability Compensation Program (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2016) in ReplicationWiki

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