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Disability Risk and the Value of Disability Insurance

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  • Amitabh Chandra
  • Andrew A. Samwick

Abstract

We estimate consumers%u2019 valuation of disability insurance using a stochastic lifecycle framework in which disability is modeled as permanent, involuntary retirement. We base our probabilities of worklimiting disability on 25 years of data from the Current Population Survey and examine the changes in the disability gradient for different demographic groups over their lifecycle. Our estimates show that a typical consumer would be willing to pay about 5 percent of expected consumption to eliminate the average disability risk faced by current workers. Only about 2 percentage points reflect the impact of disability on expected lifetime earnings; the larger part is attributable to the uncertainty associated with the threat of disablement. We estimate that no more than 20 percent of mean assets accumulated before voluntary retirement are attributable to disability risks measured for any demographic group in our data. Compared to other reductions in expected utility of comparable amounts, such as a reduction in the replacement rate at voluntary retirement or increases in annual income fluctuations, disability risk generates substantially less pre-retirement saving. Because the probability of disablement is small and the average size of the loss %u2014 conditional on becoming disabled %u2014 is large, disability risk is not effectively insured through precautionary saving.

Suggested Citation

  • Amitabh Chandra & Andrew A. Samwick, 2005. "Disability Risk and the Value of Disability Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11605
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    2. Bound, John & Burkhauser, Richard V., 1999. "Economic analysis of transfer programs targeted on people with disabilities," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 51, pages 3417-3528 Elsevier.
    3. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2003. "The Rise in the Disability Rolls and the Decline in Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 157-206.
    4. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    5. Bound, John & Cullen, Julie Berry & Nichols, Austin & Schmidt, Lucie, 2004. "The welfare implications of increasing disability insurance benefit generosity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2487-2514, December.
    6. Darius Lakdawalla & Dana Goldman & Jay Bhattacharya, 2001. "Are the Young Becoming More Disabled?," NBER Working Papers 8247, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-467, June.
    8. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruce Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok, 2016. "Disability, Earnings, Income and Consumption," NBER Chapters,in: Social Insurance Programs (Trans-Atlantic Public Economic Seminar - TAPES) National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Maegebier, Alexander, 2013. "Valuation and risk assessment of disability insurance using a discrete time trivariate Markov renewal reward process," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 802-811.
    3. Jacoby Dan F., 2013. "A cost-benefit analysis: implementing temporary disability insurance in Washington State," Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 181-208, August.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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