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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. They are not, however, 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 that 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, nor to apply testing to all types of benefits. 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 Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 281.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Publication status: Published in The B. E. Journal of Theoretical Economics (Contributions), vol.�7, n°1, février 2007.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:3000
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  1. 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).
  2. Raphael Desmet & Alain Jousten & Sergio Perelman & Pierre Pestieau, 2003. "Micro-Simulation of Social Security Reforms in Belgium," NBER Working Papers 9494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. M. Fleurbaey & F. Maniquet, 1999. "Optimal income taxation : An ordinal approach," THEMA Working Papers 99-43, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  5. 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.
  6. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU , Pierre & RACIONERO, Maria del mar, . "Optimal redistribution with heterogeneous preferences for leisure," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1566, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Disability Insurance Benefits and Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1162-1183, December.
  12. MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre & DEL MAR RACIONERO, Maria, 2003. "Optimal redistribution when different workers are indistinguishable," CORE Discussion Papers 2003018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Courtney Coile & Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Social Security and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Bound, John, 1989. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 482-503, June.
  15. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  16. 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.
  17. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2004. "Social security, retirement age and optimal income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2259-2281, September.
  18. 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.
  19. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1.
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