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Disability Risk, Disability Insurance and Life Cycle Behavior

  • Hamish Low
  • Luigi Pistaferri

This paper provides a life-cycle framework for weighing up the insurance value of disability benefits against the incentive cost. Within this framework, we estimate the life-cycle risks that individuals face in the US, as well as the parameters governing the disability insurance program, using indirect inference and longitudinal data on consumption, disability status, disability insurance receipt, and wages. We use our estimates to characterize the economic effects of disability programs and to consider how policy reforms would affect behaviour and standard measures of household welfare. Because of high levels of false rejections associated with the screening problem, average household welfare increases as the program becomes less strict, despite the worsening incentives that this implies. Incentives for false applications are reduced by reducing generosity and increasing reassessments and these policies also increase average household welfare, despite the worse insurance implied.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w15962.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15962.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15962
Note: EFG LS PE
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  1. Steven Stern, 1989. "Measuring the Effect of Disability on Labor Force Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(3), pages 361-395.
  2. Mary Daly & Richard V. Burkhauser, 2003. "The Supplemental Security Income Program," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 79-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & John Rust, 2004. "How Large are the Classification Errors in the Social Security Disability Award Process?," NBER Working Papers 10219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sheshinski, E. & Diamond, P., 1992. "Economic Aspects of Optimal Disability Benefits," Working papers 92-5, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2006. "Designing Optimal Disability Insurance: A Case for Asset Testing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 257-279, April.
  6. Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok, 2006. "Disability, Earnings, Income and Consumption," Working Papers 0610, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  7. Luigi Pistaferri & Hamish Low & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Wage risk and employment risk over the life-cycle," 2004 Meeting Papers 82, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Laura Turner & Giovanni Gallipoli, 2010. "Household Responses to Individual Shocks: Disability, Labour Supply," 2010 Meeting Papers 110, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Adda, Jérôme & Banks, James & Gaudecker, Hans-Martin von, 2008. "The Impact of Income Shocks on Health: Evidence from Cohort Data," IZA Discussion Papers 3329, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. David Autor & Mark Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," NBER Working Papers 12436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu-Man Chan & John Rust & Sofia Sheivasser, 1997. "An Empirical Analysis of the Social Security Disability Application, Appeal, and Award Process," Public Economics 9712001, EconWPA, revised 16 Feb 1998.
  12. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2003. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Staff General Research Papers 10229, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  13. Brent Kreider, 1999. "Latent Work Disability and Reporting Bias," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 734-769.
  14. John Bound, 1991. "Self-Reported Versus Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(1), pages 106-138.
  15. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2000. "How Large is the Bias is Self-Reported Disability?," NBER Working Papers 7526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Oliver Denk & Jean-Baptiste Michau, 2013. "Optimal Social Security with Imperfect Tagging," Working Papers hal-00796521, HAL.
  17. Timothy Waidman & John Bound & Austin Nichols, 2003. "Disability Benefits as Social Insurance: Tradeoffs Between Screening Stringency and Benefit Generosity in Optimal Program Design," Working Papers wp042, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  18. Giovanni Gallipoli & Laura Turner, 2009. "Household Responses to Individual Shocks: Disability and Labor Supply," Working Papers 2009.97, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  19. 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.
  20. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, 02.
  21. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. John Bound & Julie Berry Cullen & Austin Nichols & Lucie Schmidt, 2002. "The Welfare Implications of Increasing Disability Insurance Benefit Generosity," Department of Economics Working Papers 2002-02, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  23. Amy Finkelstein & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2013. "What Good Is Wealth Without Health? The Effect Of Health On The Marginal Utility Of Consumption," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 221-258, 01.
  24. Parsons, Donald O, 1980. "The Decline in Male Labor Force Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(1), pages 117-34, February.
  25. John Bound, 1989. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants," NBER Working Papers 2816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. 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.
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