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Spousal Labor Supply, Caregiving, and the Value of Disability Insurance

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  • Siha Lee

Abstract

For married couples, spousal labor supply can act as a household insurance mechanism against one spouse’s earnings shock. This paper evaluates the insurance value of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program among married households when wives face a time allocation problem between market hours and spousal care following their husbands’ disability. Using an event study approach, I find that while there is a sizable increase in wives’ working hours after their husbands’ job displacement, wives’ labor supply responses to their husbands’ disability are small, and instead, a considerable amount of time is spent in spousal care. I develop and estimate a dynamic structural model of married households and find that incorporating time loss due to spousal care increases the insurance value of SSDI relative to its costs. Furthermore, policy reforms such as supplementary caregiving benefits can improve social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Siha Lee, 2020. "Spousal Labor Supply, Caregiving, and the Value of Disability Insurance," Department of Economics Working Papers 2020-08, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2020-08
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    disability; social security; added worker effect; caregiving;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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