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Has Pharmaceutical Innovation Reduced Social Security Disability Growth?


  • Frank Lichtenberg


This paper analyzes longitudinal state-level data during the period 1995-2004 to investigate whether use of newer prescription drugs has reduced the ratio of the number of workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to the working-age population (the "DI recipiency rate"). All of the estimates indicate that there is a significant inverse relationship between disability recipiency and a good indicator of pharmaceutical innovation use: the mean vintage (FDA approval year) of Medicaid prescriptions. From 1995 to 2004, the actual disability rate increased 30%, from 2.62% to 3.42%. The estimates imply that in the absence of any post-1995 increase in drug vintage, the increase in the disability rate would have been 30% larger: the disability rate would have increased 39%, from 2.62% to 3.65%. This means that in the absence of any post-1995 increase in drug vintage, about 418,000 more working-age Americans would have been DI recipients.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Lichtenberg, 2011. "Has Pharmaceutical Innovation Reduced Social Security Disability Growth?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 293-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:18:y:2011:i:2:p:293-316
    DOI: 10.1080/13571516.2011.584432

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle.
    2. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2004. "How large is the bias in self-reported disability?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 649-670.
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