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Work Disability, Work, and Justification Bias in Europe and the U.S

Author

Listed:
  • Kapteyn, Arie

    () (University of Southern California)

  • Smith, James P.

    () (RAND)

  • van Soest, Arthur

    () (Tilburg University)

Abstract

To analyze the effect of health on work, many studies use a simple self-assessed health measure based upon a question such as "do you have an impairment or health problem limiting the kind or amount of work you can do?" A possible drawback of such a measure is the possibility that different groups of respondents may use different response scales. This is commonly referred to as "differential item functioning" (DIF). A specific form of DIF is justification bias: to justify the fact that they don't work, non-working respondents may classify a given health problem as a more serious work limitation than working respondents. In this paper we use anchoring vignettes to identify justification bias and other forms of DIF across countries and socio-economic groups among older workers in the U.S. and Europe. Generally, we find differences in response scales across countries, partly related to social insurance generosity and employment protection. Furthermore, we find significant evidence of justification bias in the U.S. but not in Europe, suggesting differences in social norms concerning work.

Suggested Citation

  • Kapteyn, Arie & Smith, James P. & van Soest, Arthur, 2009. "Work Disability, Work, and Justification Bias in Europe and the U.S," IZA Discussion Papers 4388, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4388
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arthur Van Soest & Liam Delaney & Colm Harmon & Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith, 2007. "Validating the Use of Vignettes for Subjective Threshold Scales," Working Papers 200714, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
    2. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest & James Banks, 2010. "Labor Market Status and Transitions during the Pre-Retirement Years: Learning from International Differences," NBER Chapters,in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 63-92 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:04:p:567-583_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007. "Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:01:p:191-207_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2007. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 432-441, June.
    7. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur Van Soest, 2004. "Self-reported Work Disability in the US and The Netherlands," Working Papers WR-206, RAND Corporation.
    8. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
    9. Petri Böckerman & Pekka Ilmakunnas, 2009. "Unemployment and self-assessed health: evidence from panel data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 161-179.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alain Jousten & Mathieu Lefebvre, 2013. "Retirement Incentives in Belgium: Estimations and Simulations Using SHARE Data," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 253-276, September.
    2. Messinis, George, 2013. "Returns to education and urban-migrant wage differentials in China: IV quantile treatment effects," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 39-55.
    3. Monika Bütler & Eva Deuchert & Michael Lechner & Stefan Staubli & Petra Thiemann, 2015. "Financial work incentives for disability benefit recipients: lessons from a randomised field experiment," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-18, December.
    4. Oh, Hyunseung & Reis, Ricardo, 2012. "Targeted transfers and the fiscal response to the great recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 50-64.
    5. Teresa Bago d'Uva & Maarten Lindeboom & Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2011. "Education‐related inequity in healthcare with heterogeneous reporting of health," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 174(3), pages 639-664, July.
    6. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Jürges, Hendrik, 2012. "Do workers underreport morbidity? The accuracy of self-reports of chronic conditions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(9), pages 1589-1594.
    7. Richard W. Johnson & Melissa M. Favreault & Corina Mommaerts, 2009. "Work Ability and the Social Insurance Safety Net in the Years Prior to Retirement," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-28, Center for Retirement Research, revised Nov 2009.
    8. Andrew M. Jones; Nigel Rice, Silvana Robone; & Nigel Rice; & Silvana Robone:, 2012. "A comparison of parametric and non-parametric adjustments using vignettes for self-reported data," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/10, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    vignettes; work limiting disability; reporting bias;

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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