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Do labor force evolutions affect the work incapacity caseload?


  • Leen Meeusen
  • Annemie Nys


Over the last two decades, the number of individuals entitled to work incapacity (WI) benefits increased strongly in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. The caseload has consequently increased but this has happened at a very different pace and to a very different degree. In order to draw correct conclusions regarding the actual growth in national caseload and to gain a new perspective on the very large cross-national variation, we introduce corrections on the growth of WI benefit uptake. By controlling for the evolution of the labor force and its respective gender and age components, we are able to formulate an answer to the following question: 'To what extent can the increase and cross-national variation in work incapacity caseload be explained by the evolution of the labor force and its components?' The results show that the evolution of the female labor force, and this mainly in the age brackets 15-49, had the greatest impact on the growth of WI caseload. We conclude that the corrections, based on the evolution of the different components of the labor force, reduce the growth rate of national WI caseload and narrow the gap in cross-national variation. Nevertheless, a proportion of national growth and cross-national variation remains unexplained.

Suggested Citation

  • Leen Meeusen & Annemie Nys, 2013. "Do labor force evolutions affect the work incapacity caseload?," Working Papers 1303, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1303

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-134, February.
    2. Mark Duggan & Scott A. Imberman, 2009. "Why Are the Disability Rolls Skyrocketing? The Contribution of Population Characteristics, Economic Conditions, and Program Generosity," NBER Chapters,in: Health at Older Ages: The Causes and Consequences of Declining Disability among the Elderly, pages 337-379 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Haveman, Robert H & Wolfe, Barbara L, 1984. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 532-541, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:hdl:wpaper:1402 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Annemie Nys & Leen Meeusen & Vincent Corluy, 2016. "Who cares? A Counterfactual Analysis of Household Work Intensity in Households with Disabled Family Members," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(2), pages 675-691, September.

    More about this item


    labor force; female labor force participation rate; work incapacity caseload;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • Y10 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts - - - Data: Tables and Charts

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