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The Effect of Disability Insurance Receipt on Labor Supply

  • Eric French
  • Jae Song

This paper exploits the effectively random assignment of judges to Disability Insurance cases to estimate the causal impact of Disability Insurance receipt on labor supply. We find that benefit receipt reduces labor force participation by 26 percentage points three years after a disability determination decision, although the reduction is smaller for older people, college graduates, and those with mental illness. OLS and instrumental variables estimates are similar. Furthermore, over 60 percent of those denied benefits by an administrative law judge are subsequently allowed benefits within ten years, showing that most applicants apply, reapply, and appeal until they get benefits.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 291-337

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:291-337
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.2.291
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy
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  1. Julie Berry Cullen & Brian A. Jacob & Steven Levitt, 2003. "The Effect of School Choice on Student Outcomes: Evidence from Randomized Lotteries," NBER Working Papers 10113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jerry A. Hausman & Whitney K. Newey & Tiemen Woutersen & John C. Chao & Norman R. Swanson, 2012. "Instrumental variable estimation with heteroskedasticity and many instruments," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(2), pages 211-255, 07.
  3. Philip de Jong & Maarten Lindeboom & Bas van der Klaauw, 2011. "Screening Disability Insurance Applications," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 106-129, 02.
  4. Till von Wachter & Jae Song & Joyce Manchester, 2011. "Trends in Employment and Earnings of Allowed and Rejected Applicants to the Social Security Disability Insurance Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3308-29, December.
  5. Autor, David & Maestas, Nicole & Mullen, Kathleen & Strand, Alexander, 2015. "Does Delay Cause Decay? The Effect of Administrative Decision Time on the Labor Force Participation and Earnings of Disability Applicants," IZA Discussion Papers 8788, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2007. "Child Protection and Child Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Foster Care," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1583-1610, December.
  7. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen J. Mullen & Alexander Strand, 2010. "Does Disability Insurance Receipt Discourage Work? Using Examiner Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of SSDI Receipt," Working Papers 853, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  8. repec:mpr:mprres:7075 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Bound, John, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1427-34, December.
  10. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528 Elsevier.
  11. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 71-96, Summer.
  12. Jianting Hu & Kajal Lahiri & Denton R. Vaughan & Bernard Wixon, 2001. "A Structural Model Of Social Security'S Disability Determination Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 348-361, May.
  13. Susan Chen & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2006. "The Work Disincentive Effects of the Disability Insurance Program in the 1990s," Working Papers 06-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Lahiri, Kajal & Song, Jae & Wixon, Bernard, 2008. "A model of Social Security Disability Insurance using matched SIPP/Administrative data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 4-20, July.
  15. Su Liu & David C. Stapleton, 2011. "Longitudinal Statistics on Work Activity and Use of Employment Supports for New Social Security Disability Insurance Beneficiaries," Mathematica Policy Research Reports fe4441401f1549fc8ef75bad7, Mathematica Policy Research.
  16. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bound, John, 1989. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 482-503, June.
  18. Abadie, Alberto, 2003. "Semiparametric instrumental variable estimation of treatment response models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 231-263, April.
  19. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
  20. Mark Duggan & Scott A. Imberman, 2009. "Why Are the Disability Rolls Skyrocketing? The Contribution of Population Characteristics, Economic Conditions, and Program Generosity," NBER Chapters, in: Health at Older Ages: The Causes and Consequences of Declining Disability among the Elderly, pages 337-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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