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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. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2004. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation and Behavioral Public Economics," CESifo Working Paper Series 1291, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Kroft, Kory, 2008. "Takeup, social multipliers and optimal social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 722-737, April.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 1999. "Monitoring Job Search as an Instrument For Targeting Transfers," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 317-337, August.
  6. 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.
  7. Pestieau, Pierre & Racionero, María, 2009. "Optimal redistribution with unobservable disability: Welfarist versus non-welfarist social objectives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(6), pages 636-644, August.
  8. Pudney, Stephen & Hancock, Ruth & Sutherland, Holly, 2004. "Simulating the reform of means-tested benefits with endogenous take-up and claim costs," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-04, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  9. 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.
  10. Katherine Cuff, 2000. "Optimality of workfare with heterogeneous preferences," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(1), pages 149-174, February.
  11. 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).
  12. 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.
  13. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
  14. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Disability Testing and Retirement," IDEI Working Papers 281, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  15. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  16. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 122247000000000306, www.najecon.org.
  17. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  18. 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.
  19. Sheshinski, E. & Diamond, P., 1992. "Economic Aspects of Optimal Disability Benefits," Working papers 92-5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  20. 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.
  21. Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jörgen W. Weibull, 1999. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35.
  22. Dirk Van de gaer & Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1999. "Responsibility, talent, and compensation: A second-best analysis," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 4(1), pages 35-55.
  23. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1990. "Understanding Welfare Stigma: Taxpayer Resentment And Statistical Discrimination," Papers 42, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  24. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
  28. Salanie, Bernard, 2002. "Optimal demogrants with imperfect tagging," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 319-324, May.
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