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The Welfare Cost of Means-Testing: Pensioner Participation in Income Support

  • Stephen Pudney
  • Monica Hernandez
  • Ruth Hancock


We estimate parametric and semi-parametric binary choice models of benefit take-up by British pensioners and develop methods, based on the compensating variation, of inferring the cash-equivalent value of disutility arising from stigma or complexity of the claims process, taking account of the self-selection induced by take-up. We extend this to incorporate the claim costs borne by welfare-recipients into the measurement of pensioner poverty. We find that allowing for implicit claim costs in this way has a non-negligible impact on poverty measurement.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Leicester in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 03/2.

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Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lec:leecon:03/2
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  1. Stephen Pudney & Monica Hernandez & Ruth Hancock, 2007. "The welfare cost of means-testing: pensioner participation in income support," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 581-598.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Marlene Kim & Thanos Mergoupis, 1998. "The Working Poor and Welfare Recipiency," Macroeconomics 9810006, EconWPA.
  5. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1995. "Modelling the take-up of state support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 391-415, November.
  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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