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The welfare cost of means-testing: pensioner participation in income support

  • Hernandez, Monica
  • Pudney, Stephen
  • Hancock, Ruth

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 £ 3-4 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 13%.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2006-12.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2006-12
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  1. 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.
  2. Marlene Kim & Thanos Mergoupis, 1995. "The Working Poor and Welfare Recipiency," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_151, Levy Economics Institute.
  3. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1995. "Modelling the take-up of state support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 391-415, November.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-89, August.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  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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