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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
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Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2003:171
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  1. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1995. "Modelling the take-up of state support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 391-415, November.
  2. 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.
  3. Anderson, Patricia M & Meyer, Bruce D, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-37, August.
  4. M. Keane & R. Mofitt, 1995. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," Working Papers 95-4, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Janice Halpern & Jerry A. Hausman, 1985. "Choice Under Uncertainty: A Model of Applications for the Social Security Disability Insurance Program," NBER Working Papers 1690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  7. 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.
  8. Stephen Pudney & Monica Hernandez & Ruth Hancock, 2002. "The Welfare Cost of Means-Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income Support," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/2, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  9. 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.
  10. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  11. Marlene Kim & Thanos Mergoupis, 1998. "The Working Poor and Welfare Recipiency," Macroeconomics 9810006, EconWPA.
  12. 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).
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