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Workers' Applications to Social Insurance Programs When Earnings and Eligibility Are Uncertain

  • Kreider, Brent

A worker's decision whether to apply for public transfers may depend not only on his expected level of forgone labor earnings but also on his degree of uncertainty about such earnings. This article provides theory and evidence about the effects of earnings and eligibility uncertainty on participation decisions. The application rate to the Social Security Disability Insurance program is estimated to be about 15 percent higher than it would be in the absence of earnings risk. As an application to tax policy, optimal marginal wage tax rates may be higher than indicated in previous analyses involving wage uncertainty. Copyright 1998 by University of Chicago Press.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/209908
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (1998)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 848-77

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:16:y:1998:i:4:p:848-77
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JOLE/

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  1. Diamond, Peter A. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1974. "Increases in risk and in risk aversion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 337-360, July.
  2. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1989. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," NBER Working Papers 2871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Roger H. Gordon & Alan S. Blinder, 1980. "Market wages, reservation wages, and retirement decisions," NBER Chapters, in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 277-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Janice Halpern & Jerry A. Hausman, 1985. "Choice Under Uncertainty: A Model of Applications for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program," NBER Working Papers 1690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. de Meza, David, 1984. "Wage Uncertainty, Expected Utility, and Occupation Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(3), pages 757-62, October.
  9. Dardanoni, Valentino, 1988. "Optimal Choices under Uncertainty: The Case of Two-Argument Utility Functions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(391), pages 429-50, June.
  10. Weiss, Laurence, 1976. "The Desirability of Cheating Incentives and Randomness in the Optimal Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1343-52, December.
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  13. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-34, February.
  14. 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.
  15. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
  16. Haveman, Robert H. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1984. "Disability transfers and early retirement: a casual relationship?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 47-66, June.
  17. Hamilton, Jonathan H, 1987. "Optimal Wage and Income Taxation with Wage Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 373-88, June.
  18. Tressler, J. H. & Menezes, C. F., 1980. "Labor supply and wage rate uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 425-436, December.
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