IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/labeco/v37y2015icp13-27.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social program substitution and optimal policy

Author

Listed:
  • Lawson, Nicholas

Abstract

The large size and rate of growth of the US Disability Insurance (DI) system makes it important to understand the factors that influence the decision to apply for DI. In a context of imperfect DI screening, the generosity of other social programs can play a role in this decision, and one empirically relevant factor is the availability and generosity of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. UI's impact on DI applications and enrollment has been ignored in welfare analyses of UI, but I show that it leads to significantly altered results: the optimal level of unemployment benefits increases by about 50%, as more generous UI prevents workers from applying for DI, with significant cost savings to the government. The same logic applies to a wide variety of other social programs and contexts, and in a more general model I show that the impact of any such program on welfare can be expressed in terms of its redistributional effect and its effects on the tax base and on enrollment on other programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawson, Nicholas, 2015. "Social program substitution and optimal policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 13-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:37:y:2015:i:c:p:13-27
    DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2015.08.005
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537115000949
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.labeco.2015.08.005?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lukas Inderbitzin & Stefan Staubli & Josef Zweimüller, 2016. "Extended Unemployment Benefits and Early Retirement: Program Complementarity and Program Substitution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 253-288, February.
    2. Fredriksson, Peter & Holmlund, Bertil, 2001. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Search Equilibrium," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 370-399, April.
    3. Chen, Susan & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "The work disincentive effects of the disability insurance program in the 1990s," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 757-784, February.
    4. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & John Rust, 2004. "How Large are the Classification Errors in the Social Security Disability Award Process?," NBER Working Papers 10219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Chetty, Raj, 2006. "A general formula for the optimal level of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(10-11), pages 1879-1901, November.
    6. Matthew S. Rutledge, 2011. "The Impact of Unemployment Insurance Extensions on Disability Insurance Application and Allowance Rates," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2011-17, Center for Retirement Research, revised Oct 2011.
    7. Merrigan, Philip & Normandin, Michel, 1996. "Precautionary Saving Motives: An Assessment from UK Time Series of Cross-Sections," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1193-1208, September.
    8. Rasmus Lentz, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in an Estimated Job Search Model with Savings," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 37-57, January.
    9. Nicholas Lawson, 2014. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Tuition Subsidies Optimal College Tuition Subsidies," AMSE Working Papers 1404, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France, revised 18 Mar 2014.
    10. 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.
    11. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-142, February.
    12. Nicholas Lawson, 2017. "Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 281-312, November.
    13. Petrongolo, Barbara, 2009. "The long-term effects of job search requirements: Evidence from the UK JSA reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1234-1253, December.
    14. 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.
    15. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise in the Disability Rolls and the Decline in Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-206.
    16. Martin Feldstein, 1985. "The Optimal Level of Social Security Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(2), pages 303-320.
    17. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Sufficient Statistics for Welfare Analysis: A Bridge Between Structural and Reduced-Form Methods," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 451-488, May.
    18. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
    19. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    20. Lammers, Marloes & Bloemen, Hans & Hochguertel, Stefan, 2013. "Job search requirements for older unemployed: Transitions to employment, early retirement and disability benefits," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 31-57.
    21. Avraham Ebenstein & Kevin Stange, 2010. "Does inconvenience explain low take-up? Evidence from unemployment insurance," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(1), pages 111-136.
    22. Staubli, Stefan, 2011. "The impact of stricter criteria for disability insurance on labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1223-1235, October.
    23. Lex Borghans & Anne C. Gielen & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2014. "Social Support Substitution and the Earnings Rebound: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity in Disability Insurance Reform," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 34-70, November.
    24. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097, Elsevier.
    25. repec:hrv:faseco:34330197 is not listed on IDEAS
    26. Nicholas Lawson, 2017. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Externalities, and Optimal Tuition Subsidies," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 313-343, November.
    27. Cushing, Matthew J., 2005. "Net Marginal Social Security Tax Rates Over the Life Cycle," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 58(2), pages 227-245, June.
    28. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
    29. Richard Lipsey, 2007. "Reflections on the general theory of second best at its golden jubilee," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(4), pages 349-364, August.
    30. Nathaniel Hendren, 2013. "The Policy Elasticity," NBER Working Papers 19177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Disability Insurance Benefits and Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1162-1183, December.
    32. 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.
    33. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    34. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance with Endogenous Private Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Income Taxation, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 85-114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. 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 3308-3329, December.
    36. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
    37. Lance Lochner, 2010. "Non-Production Benefits of Education: Crime, Health and Good Citizenship," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20107, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    38. Robert J. LaLonde, 1995. "The Promise of Public Sector-Sponsored Training Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 149-168, Spring.
    39. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. David S. Lee & Pauline Leung & Christopher J. O’Leary & Zhuan Pei & Simon Quach, 2021. "Are Sufficient Statistics Necessary? Nonparametric Measurement of Deadweight Loss from Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(S2), pages 455-506.
    2. Nicholas Lawson, 2017. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Externalities, and Optimal Tuition Subsidies," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 313-343, November.
    3. Zweimüller, Josef, 2018. "Unemployment insurance and the labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-14.
    4. Avram, Silvia & Brewer, Mike & Salvatori, Andrea, 2018. "Can't work or won't work: Quasi-experimental evidence on work search requirements for single parents," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 63-85.
    5. Besarion C. Meskhi & Mikhail A. Izotov & Yuliya S. Knyazeva & Tatyana V. Simonyan, 2016. "Formation of the System of Management of Supporting University on the Basis of Strengthening of Communication Component," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(2), pages 64-70.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. repec:hrv:faseco:34330197 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Zweimüller, Josef, 2018. "Unemployment insurance and the labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-14.
    3. Hamish Low & Luigi Pistaferri, 2020. "Disability Insurance: Theoretical Trade‐Offs and Empirical Evidence," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(1), pages 129-164, March.
    4. Nicholas Lawson, 2017. "Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 281-312, November.
    5. Haller, Andreas & Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2020. "Designing Disability Insurance Reforms: Tightening Eligibility Rules or Reducing Benefits?," CEPR Discussion Papers 15121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Shu, Pian, 2015. "Asset accumulation and labor force participation of disability insurance applicants," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 26-40.
    7. Lukas Inderbitzin & Stefan Staubli & Josef Zweimüller, 2016. "Extended Unemployment Benefits and Early Retirement: Program Complementarity and Program Substitution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 253-288, February.
    8. Liebert, Helge, 2019. "Does external medical review reduce disability insurance inflow?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 108-128.
    9. Helge Liebert, 2021. "Does external medical review reduce disability insurance inflow?," Papers 2101.03117, arXiv.org.
    10. Raj Chetty & Amy Finkelstein, 2012. "Social Insurance: Connecting Theory to Data," NBER Working Papers 18433, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Petri Böckerman & Ohto Kanninen & Ilpo Suoniemi, 2018. "A kink that makes you sick: The effect of sick pay on absence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(4), pages 568-579, June.
    12. 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.
    13. Jesse Rothstein & Robert G. Valletta, 2017. "Scraping by: Income and Program Participation After the Loss of Extended Unemployment Benefits," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(4), pages 880-908, September.
    14. Mesén Vargas, Juliana & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2017. "Is There Always a Trade-off between Insurance and Incentives? The Case of Unemployment with Subsistence Constraints," IZA Discussion Papers 11034, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Koning, Pierre & Muller, Paul & Prudon, Roger, 2020. "Do Disability Benefits Hinder Work Resumption after Recovery?," IZA Discussion Papers 13971, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Moore, Timothy J., 2015. "The employment effects of terminating disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 30-43.
    17. Böckerman, Petri & Kanninen, Ohto & Suoniemi, Ilpo, 2014. "A Kink that Makes You Sick: the Effect of Sick Pay on Absence in a Social Insurance System," MPRA Paper 61010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Optimal Taxation and Social Insurance with Endogenous Private Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Income Taxation, Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), pages 85-114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Pilar García‐Gómez & Anne C. Gielen, 2018. "Mortality effects of containing moral hazard: Evidence from disability insurance reform," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 606-621, March.
    20. Arash Nekoei & Andrea Weber, 2017. "Does Extending Unemployment Benefits Improve Job Quality?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 527-561, February.
    21. Jeffrey Hemmeter & Michelle Stegman Bailey, 2016. "Earnings after DI: evidence from full medical continuing disability reviews," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-22, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal interactions; Program substitution; Optimal unemployment insurance; Disability insurance; Sufficient statistics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:37:y:2015:i:c:p:13-27. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.