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Measuring the (Income) Effect of Disability Insurance Generosity on Labour Market Participation

  • Marie Olivier
  • Vall Castello Judit

    (ROA rm)

We analyze the employment effect of a law that provides for a 36 percent increasein the generosity of disability insurance (DI) for claimants who are, as a result oftheir lack of skills and of the labour market conditions they face, deemed unlikely tofind a job. The selection process for treatment is therefore conditional on having alow probability of employment, making evaluation of its effect intrinsically difficult.We exploit the fact that the benefit increase is only available to individuals aged 55or older, estimating its impact using a regression discontinuity approach. Our firstresults indicate a large drop in employment for disabled individuals who receive theincrease in the benefit. Testing for the linearity of covariates around the eligibility agethreshold reveals that the age at which individuals start claiming DI is not continuous:the benefit increase appears to accelerate the entry rate of individuals aged 55 or over.We obtain new estimates excluding this group of claimants, and find that the policydecreases the employment probability by 8 percent. We conclude that the observedDI generosity elasticity of 0.22 on labour market participation is mostly due to incomeeffects since benefit receipt is not work contingent in the system studied.

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Paper provided by Maastricht University, Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) in its series ROA Research Memorandum with number 012.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:unm:umaror:2011012
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  1. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2009. "Alternative Approaches to Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
  3. Bell, David & Heitmueller, Axel, 2009. "The Disability Discrimination Act in the UK: Helping or hindering employment among the disabled?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 465-480, March.
  4. Joshua D. Angrist & Stacey H. Chen & Brigham R. Frandsen, 2009. "Did Vietnam Veterans Get Sicker in the 1990s? The Complicated Effects of Military Service on Self-Reported Health," NBER Working Papers 14781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Judit Vall Castello, 2010. "Promoting Employment of Disabled Women in Spain; Evaluating a Policy," Working Papers 2010-10, FEDEA.
  6. Rafael Lalive & Jean-Philippe Wuellrich & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "Do Financial Incentives for Firms Promote Employment of Disabled Workers? A Regression Discontinuity Approach," NRN working papers 2009-11, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  7. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. van Ours, J.C., 2006. "Leaving "Hotel California" : How Incentives Affect Flows of Benefit Recipients in the Netherlands," Discussion Paper 2006-116, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. 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.
  10. John Bound, 1989. "The Health and Earnings of Rejected Disability Insurance Applicants," NBER Working Papers 2816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Till von Wachter & Jae Song & Joyce Manchester, 2011. "Trends in Employment and Earnings of Allowed and Rejected Applicants to the Social Security Disability Insurance Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3308-29, December.
  12. Humer, Brigitte & Wuellrich, Jean-Philippe & Zweimüller, Josef, 2007. "Integrating Severely Disabled Individuals into the Labour Market: The Austrian Case," IZA Discussion Papers 2649, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2007. "Distinguishing Income from Substitution Effects in Disability Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 119-124, May.
  14. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2010. "Optimal bandwidth choice for the regression discontinuity estimator," CeMMAP working papers CWP05/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan, 2006. "The Growth in the Social Security Disability Rolls: A Fiscal Crisis Unfolding," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 71-96, Summer.
  16. Susan Chen & Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2006. "The Work Disincentive Effects of the Disability Insurance Program in the 1990s," Working Papers 06-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. Staubli, Stefan, 2011. "The impact of stricter criteria for disability insurance on labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1223-1235.
  18. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  19. repec:dgr:kubcen:2006116 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Richard V. Burkhauser & Mary C. Daly & Philip R. de Jong, 2008. "Curing the Dutch Disease: Lessons for United States Disability Policy," Working Papers wp188, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  21. Sergi Jiménez Martín & Judit Vall Castello, 2009. "Business Cycle Effects on Labour Force Transitions for Older People in Spain," Working Papers 2009-25, FEDEA.
  22. Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Disability Insurance Benefits and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 5866, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Nicola Duell & Shruti Singh & Peter Tergeist, 2009. "Activation Policies in Norway," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 78, OECD Publishing.
  24. Boyle, Melissa A. & Lahey, Joanna N., 2010. "Health insurance and the labor supply decisions of older workers: Evidence from a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expansion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 467-478, August.
  25. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  26. David H. Autor & Mark G. Duggan & David S. Lyle, 2011. "Battle Scars? The Puzzling Decline in Employment and Rise in Disability Receipt among Vietnam Era Veterans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 339-44, May.
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