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Disability Testing and Retirement

  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie
  • Pestieau, Pierre

This paper studies the design of retirement and disability policies. It illustrates the often observed exit from the labour force of healthy workers through disability insurance schemes. Two types of individuals, disabled and leisure-prone ones, have the same disutility for labour and cannot be distinguished. However, they are not counted in the same way in social welfare. Benefits depend on retirement age and on the (reported) health status. We determine first- and second-best optimal benefit levels and retirement ages and focus on the distortions which may be induced in the individuals’ retirement decision. Then we introduce the possibility of testing which sorts out disabled workers from healthy but retirement-prone workers. We show that such testing can increase both social welfare and the rate of participation of elderly workers; in addition disabled workers are better taken care of. It is not optimal to test all applicants. Surprisingly, the (second-best) solution may imply later retirement for the disabled than for the leisure prone. In that case, the disabled are compensated by higher benefits.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5546.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5546
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  1. MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria, . "Optimal redistribution when different workers are indistinguishable," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1701, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Helmuth Cremer & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur & Pierre Pestieau, 2002. "Social Security, Retirement Age and Optimal Income Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 693, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Bound, 1989. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants," NBER Working Papers 2816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. FLEURBAEY, Marc & MANIQUET, François, 1998. "Optimal income taxation: and ordinal approach," CORE Discussion Papers 1998065, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Desmet, Raphaël & Jousten, Alain & Perelman, Sergio & Pestieau, Pierre, 2003. "Micro-Simulation of Social Security Reforms in Belgium," IZA Discussion Papers 735, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 2004. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Micro-Estimation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub04-1, August.
  8. BOADWAY, R. & MARCHAND, M. & PESTIEAU, P. & del MAR RACIONERO, M., 2001. "Optimal redistribution with heterogeneous preferences for leisure," CORE Discussion Papers 2001025, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Disability Insurance Benefits and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Parsons, Donald O, 1991. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1419-26, December.
  12. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Redistribution," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 677-789 Elsevier.
  13. Sheshinski, E. & Diamond, P., 1992. "Economic Aspects of Optimal Disability Benefits," Working papers 92-5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, August.
  15. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Optimal retirements and disability benefits with audit," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1836, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  16. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  18. Crawford, Vincent P & Lilien, David M, 1981. "Social Security and the Retirement Decision," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 96(3), pages 505-29, August.
  19. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1986. " Payroll-Tax Financed Social Insurance with Variable Retirement," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 25-50.
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