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The Welfare Cost of Means-Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income Support

  • Pudney, Stephen

    (University of Leicester)

  • Monica Hernandez
  • Ruth Hancock

We estimate parametric and semi-parametric binary choice models of benefit take-up by British pensioners and use a revealed preference argument to infer the cash-equivalent value of disutility arising from stigma or complexity of the claims process. These implicit costs turn out to be relatively small, averaging about £2-4 per week across Income Support recipients. Using the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke measure of poverty among pensioners, we find that allowing for implicit claim costs incurred by benefit recipients raises the measured degree of poverty by not more than 16%.

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Paper provided by Royal Economic Society in its series Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 with number 171.

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Date of creation: 04 Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2003:171
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  1. Ruth Hancock & Geraldine Barker, 2005. "The quality of social security benefit data in the British Family Resources Survey: implications for investigating income support take-up by pensioners," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(1), pages 63-82.
  2. M. Keane & R. Moffitt, . "A structural model of multiple welfare program participation and labor supply," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1080-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Halpern, Janice & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Choice under uncertainty: A model of applications for the social security disability insurance program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 131-161, November.
  4. Pudney, Stephen & Monica Hernandez & Ruth Hancock, 2003. "The Welfare Cost of Means-Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income Support," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 171, Royal Economic Society.
  5. Blundell, Richard & Fry, Vanessa & Walker, Ian, 1987. "Modelling the Take-up of Means-tested Benefits: the Case of Housing Benefits in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(390), pages 58-74, Supplemen.
  6. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-937.
  7. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1995. "Modelling the take-up of state support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 391-415, November.
  8. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  10. Riphahn, Regina T., 2000. "Rational Poverty or Poor Rationality? The Take-up of Social Assistance Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 124, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Marlene Kim & Thanos Mergoupis, 1995. "The Working Poor and Welfare Recipiency," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_151, Levy Economics Institute.
  12. Klein, Roger W & Spady, Richard H, 1993. "An Efficient Semiparametric Estimator for Binary Response Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 387-421, March.
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