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How Large is the Bias in Self-Reported Disability?

  • Hugo Benitez-Silva
  • Moshe Buchinsky
  • Hiu Man Chan
  • Sofia Cheidvasser
  • John Rust

A pervasive concern with the use of self-reported health measures in behavioural models is that individuals tend to exaggerate the severity of health problems in order to rationalize their decisions regarding labour force participation, application for disability benefits, etc. We re-examine this issue using a self-reported indicator of disability status from the Health and Retirement Study. We study a subsample of individuals who applied for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), for whom we can also observe the SSA's decision. Using a battery of tests, we are unable to reject the hypothesis that self-reported disability is an unbiased indicator of the SSA's decision. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2000-01.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2000-01
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Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. John Rust & Department of Economics & University of Wisconsin, 1994. "Using Randomization to Break the Curse of Dimensionality," Computational Economics 9403001, EconWPA, revised 04 Jul 1994.
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  8. Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
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  12. Bierens, H.J., 1989. "A consistent conditional moment test of functional form," Serie Research Memoranda 0064, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
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  14. 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.
  15. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711.
  16. Richard V. Burkhauser & Robert H. Haveman & Barbara L. Wolfe, 1993. "How people with disabilities fare when public policies change," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(2), pages 251-269.
  17. Kerkhofs, Marcel & Lindeboom, Maarten & Theeuwes, Jules, 1999. "Retirement, financial incentives and health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 203-227, June.
  18. Horowitz, Joel L. & Spokoiny, Vladimir G., 1999. "An Adaptive, Rate-Optimal Test of a Parametric Model Against a Nonparametric Alternative," Working Papers 99-02, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  19. 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.
  20. Horowitz, Joel L. & Spokoiny, Vladimir G., 1999. "An adaptive, rate-optimal test of a parametric model against a nonparametric alternative," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,10, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  21. Robert Haveman & Philip de Jong & Barbara Wolfe, 1991. "Disability Transfers and the Work Decision of Older Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 939-949.
  22. Donald W. K. Andrews & Moshe Buchinsky, 2000. "A Three-Step Method for Choosing the Number of Bootstrap Repetitions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(1), pages 23-52, January.
  23. Heckman, James J, 1978. "Dummy Endogenous Variables in a Simultaneous Equation System," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(4), pages 931-59, July.
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