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Take it or Leave it: Take-up, Optimal Transfer Programs, and Monitoring

This paper studies the optimal income redistribution and optimal monitoring when disability benefits are intended for disabled people but when some able agents with high distaste for work mimic them (type II errors). Labor supply responses are at the extensive margin and endogenous take-up costs may burden disabled recipients (because of either a reputational externality caused by cheaters or a snowball effect). Under paternalistic utilitarian preferences that do not compensate for distaste for work, inactive disabled recipients should obtain strictly lower consumption than disabled workers. The cost of monitoring supports adoption of an Earned Income Tax Credit. However, and surprisingly, with or without take-up costs, even if perfect monitoring is costless, it proves optimal to have type II errors. These results are robust to a utilitarian criterion. The paper provides numerical simulations calibrated on U.S. data.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-04/cesifo1_wp3018.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3018.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3018
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  1. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2006. "Disability testing and retirement," CORE Discussion Papers 2006016, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Jon Harkness, 1993. "Labour Force Participation by Disabled Males in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 26(4), pages 878-89, November.
  3. Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
  4. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Katherine Cuff, 1998. "Optimality of Workfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 968, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
  9. MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre & DEL MAR RACIONERO, Maria, 2003. "Optimal redistribution when different workers are indistinguishable," CORE Discussion Papers 2003018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  13. PESTIEAU, Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria, 2007. "Optimal redistribution with unobservable disability: welfarist versus non-welfarist social objectives," CORE Discussion Papers 2007035, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Dirk Van de gaer & Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1999. "Responsibility, talent, and compensation: A second-best analysis," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 35-55.
  15. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 1999. "Monitoring Job Search as an Instrument for Targeting Transfers," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 71, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  16. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2000. "How Large is the Bias is Self-Reported Disability?," NBER Working Papers 7526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & John Rust, 2005. "How Large are the Classification Errors in the Social Security Disability Award Process?," Department of Economics Working Papers 05-02, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  18. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  19. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role Of Information And Social Interactions In Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence From A Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842, August.
  20. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  21. Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  22. Stephen Pudney & Ruth Hancock & Holly Sutherland, 2006. "Simulating the Reform of Means-tested Benefits with Endogenous Take-up and Claim Costs," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 68(2), pages 135-166, 04.
  23. Boadway, Robin & Marceau, Nicolas & Sato, Motohiro, 1999. "Agency and the design of welfare systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 1-30, July.
  24. Kroft, Kory, 2008. "Takeup, social multipliers and optimal social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 722-737, April.
  25. Schokkaert, Erik & Van de gaer, Dirk & Vandenbroucke, Frank & Luttens, Roland Iwan, 2004. "Responsibility sensitive egalitarianism and optimal linear income taxation," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 151-182, September.
  26. Salanie, Bernard, 2002. "Optimal demogrants with imperfect tagging," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 319-324, May.
  27. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
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