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Incapacity Benefit: A Health or Labour Market Phenomenon?

Listed author(s):
  • Tessa Peasgood
  • Jenny Roberts


    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

  • Aki Tsuchiya


    (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

The number of people claiming Incapacity Benefit has remained fairly constant in recent years at around 2.7 million (7% of the working age population), although the numbers have trebled since the 1970s when an earlier version of this benefit was available. In January 2006 the UK Government set the ambitious target of reducing the number of claimants by one million, or around 40% of the total, within the next decade. New initiatives will focus on increasing the number of people who remain in work and increasing the number leaving benefits and finding employment. This paper explores these two critical transitions using data from waves 5 to 13 of the British Household Panel Survey. We consider whether the moves onto and off benefit are driven by health status or whether labour market factors are also important. Our results show that while health, and in particular psychological health, is an important determinant of these transitions, other factors such as age, occupation and geographical location are also key explanatory factors. This suggests that a very broad range of policy measures will be required if the government is to meet its target

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Paper provided by The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2006011.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision: Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2006011
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  1. Christina Beatty & Stephen Fothergill, 2002. "Hidden Unemployment Among Men: A Case Study," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(8), pages 811-823.
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