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The Impact of Private Participation on Disability Costs: Evidence from Chile


  • Estelle James

    (Urban Institute)

  • Alejandra CoxEdwards

    (California State University, Long Beach)

  • Augusto Iglesias

    (Urban Institute)


Social security systems in many countries face problems of high and escalating disability costs. This paper analyzes how disability costs have been controlled in Chile. The disability insurance system in Chile is much less well-known than the pension part, but it is equally innovative. It differs from traditional public disability insurance in two important ways: 1) it is largely pre-funded, sufficient to cover a lifetime disability annuity and 2) the disability assessment procedure includes participation by private pension funds (AFPs) and insurance companies, who finance the benefit and have a direct pecuniary interest in controlling costs. We hypothesize that these procedures and incentives will keep system costs low, by cutting the incidence of successful disability claims. Using the Cox proportional hazard model based on a retrospective sample of new and old system affiliates (ESP 2002), we conclude that observed behavior is broadly consistent with this hypothesis. Disability hazard rates are only 20-35% as high in the new system as in the old, after controlling for other co-variates. Furthermore, analysis of mortality rates among disabled pensioners (using probit and proportional hazard models) suggests that the new system has accurately targeted those with more severe medical problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Estelle James & Alejandra CoxEdwards & Augusto Iglesias, 2007. "The Impact of Private Participation on Disability Costs: Evidence from Chile," Working Papers wp161, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp161

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Arenas de Mesa & David Bravo & Jere R. Behrman & Olivia S. Mitchell & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "The Chilean Pension Reform Turns 25: Lessons From the Social Protection Survey," NBER Working Papers 12401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Patrick Wiese, 2006. "Financing Disability Benefits In A System Of Individual Accounts: Lessons From International Experience," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2006-4, Center for Retirement Research.
    3. Alejandra Cox-Edwards & Estelle James, 2006. "Crowd-out, Adverse Selection and Information in Annuity Markets: Evidence from a New Retrospective Data Set in Chile," Working Papers wp147, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    4. David M. Cutler & David A. Wise, 2009. "Health at Older Ages: The Causes and Consequences of Declining Disability among the Elderly," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number cutl08-1, January.
    5. Salvador Valdés & Eduardo Navarro, 1992. "Subsidios Cruzados en el Seguro de Invalidez y Sobrevivencia del Nuevo Sistema Previsional Chileno," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 29(88), pages 409-442.
    6. Estelle James & Augusto Iglesias Palau, 2006. "How to Integrate Disability Benefits into a System with Individual Accounts: The Chilean Model," Working Papers wp111, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. Alberto Arenas de Mesa & Jere Behrman & David Bravo, 2001. "Characteristics of and determinants of the density of contributions in a Private Social Security System," Working Papers wp077, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    8. Grushka, Carlos O. & Demarco, Gustavo, 2003. "Disability pensions and social security reform : analysis of the Latin American experience," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 29139, The World Bank.
    9. James, Estelle & Martinez, Guillermo & Iglesias, Augusto, 2006. "The payout stage in Chile: who annuitizes and why?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(02), pages 121-154, July.
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