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The Labor Supply Effects of Disability Insurance: Evidence from Automatic Conversion Using Administrative Data

  • Nicole Maestas

    (RAND)

  • Jae Song

    (Social Security Administration)

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We analyze a natural experiment generated by the interaction of the Social Security DI and OA programs at Full Retirement Age, when DI beneficiaries are automatically converted from the DI program to the OA retired worker program. At conversion benefit payments continue unchanged, however the DI program’s high implicit marginal tax rate on earnings is abruptly relaxed. We use administrative Social Security data for the universe of primary worker DI beneficiaries from the 1934-1942 birth cohorts observed in panel over the period of 1995-2008. Our estimates imply that the DI program depresses labor supply among even the oldest DI beneficiaries. In the context of the literature to date that has sought to establish an upper bound on the earnings losses caused by the presence of the DI program by using quasi-experimental variation occurring at the program entry margin, our use of quasi-experimental variation arising from the program exit margin, when individuals are already in their mid-60s and the dominant trend in labor force participation in the population at large is downward, suggests that our estimates are most appropriately viewed as a lower bound estimate of the residual work capacity of all beneficiaries.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp247.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp247.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp247
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  1. 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.
  2. Chen, Susan & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "The work disincentive effects of the disability insurance program in the 1990s," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 757-784, February.
  3. Eric French & Jae Song, 2014. "The Effect of Disability Insurance Receipt on Labor Supply," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 291-337, May.
  4. Bound, John & Waidmann, Timothy, 1992. "Disability Transfers, Self-Reported Health, and the Labor Force Attachment of Older Men: Evidence from the Historical Record," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1393-419, November.
  5. Dan Black & Kermit Daniel & Seth Sanders, 2002. "The Impact of Economic Conditions on Participation in Disability Programs: Evidence from the Coal Boom and Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 27-50, March.
  6. John Bound & Timothy Waidmann, 2002. "Accounting for Recent Declines in Employment Rates among Working-Aged Men and Women with Disabilities," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(2), pages 231-250.
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