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Financial Incentives and Earnings of Disability Insurance Recipients: Evidence from a Notch Design

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  • Philippe Ruh
  • Stefan Staubli

Abstract

Most countries reduce Disability Insurance (DI) benefits for beneficiaries earning above a specified threshold. Such an earnings threshold generates a discontinuous increase in tax liability—a notch—and creates an incentive to keep earnings below the threshold. Exploiting such a notch in Austria, we provide transparent and credible identification of the effect of financial incentives on DI beneficiaries’ earnings. Using rich administrative data, we document large and sharp bunching at the earnings threshold. However, the elasticity driving these responses is small. Our estimate suggests that relaxing the earnings threshold reduces fiscal cost only if program entry is very inelastic.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Ruh & Stefan Staubli, 2018. "Financial Incentives and Earnings of Disability Insurance Recipients: Evidence from a Notch Design," NBER Working Papers 24830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24830
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    19. Henrik J. Kleven & Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Using Notches to Uncover Optimization Frictions and Structural Elasticities: Theory and Evidence from Pakistan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 669-723.
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    Cited by:

    1. Deuchert, Eva & Eugster, Beatrix, 2019. "Income and substitution effects of a disability insurance reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 1-14.
    2. Haller, Andreas & Staubli, Stefan & Zweimüller, Josef, 2020. "Designing Disability Insurance Reforms: Tightening Eligibility Rules or Reducing Benefits?," CEPR Discussion Papers 15121, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Myhre, Andreas, 2021. "Intensive and Extensive Margin Labor Supply Responses to Kinks in Disability Insurance Programs," MPRA Paper 109547, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Kostol, Andreas Ravndal & Myhre, Andreas S., 2020. "Labor Supply Responses to Learning the Tax and Benefit Schedule," IZA Discussion Papers 13900, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Alexander Gelber & Timothy J. Moore & Alexander Strand, 2017. "The Effect of Disability Insurance Payments on Beneficiaries' Earnings," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 229-261, August.
    6. Deuchert, E. & Eugster, B., 2016. "Crawling Up the Cash Cliff? Behavioral Responses to a Disability Insurance Reform," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 16/21, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    7. Zaresani, Arezou & Olivo-Villabrille, Miguel, 2021. "Return-to-Work Policies' Clawback Regime and Labor Supply in Disability Insurance Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 14565, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Zaresani, Arezou, 2020. "Adjustment cost and incentives to work: Evidence from a disability insurance program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    9. Michael Levere & David Wittenburg & Heinrich Hock & John T. Jones, "undated". "Using Behavioral Outreach to Counteract Administrative Burden and Encourage Take-Up of Simplified Disability Payment Rules," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 0c17d5c1847d453091eb6356c, Mathematica Policy Research.
    10. Chiara Dal Bianco, 2019. "Labour Supply and Welfare Effects of Disability Insurance: A Survey," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 5(1), pages 161-189, March.
    11. Michael Levere & David Mann & David Wittenburg, "undated". "Promoting Opportunity Demonstration: POD BOND Comparison Report," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4d5cea0b0cf843c4845033ed1, Mathematica Policy Research.
    12. Tazhitdinova, Alisa, 2015. "Adjust Me if I Can’t: The Effect of Firm Incentives on Labor Supply Responses to Taxes," MPRA Paper 81611, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2017.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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