IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/upf/upfgen/1171.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Disability, capacity for work and the business cycle: An international perspective

Author

Abstract

An important policy issue in recent years concerns the number of people claiming disability benefits for reasons of incapacity for work. We distinguish between ‘work disability’, which may have its roots in economic and social circumstances, and ‘health disability’ which arises from clear diagnosed medical conditions. Although there is a link between work and health disability, economic conditions, and in particular the ‘business cycle’ and variations in the risk of unemployment over time and across localities, may play an important part in explaining both the stock of disability benefit claimants and inflows to and outflow from that stock. We employ a variety of cross?country and country?specific household panel data sets, as well as administrative data, to test whether disability benefit claims rise when unemployment is higher, and also to investigate the impact of unemployment rates on flows on and off the benefit rolls. We find strong evidence that local variations in unemployment have an important explanatory role for disability benefit receipt, with higher total enrolments, lower outflows from rolls and, often, higher inflows into disability rolls in regions and periods of above?average unemployment. Although general subjective measures of selfreported disability and longstanding illness are also positively associated with unemployment rates, inclusion of self?reported health measures does not eliminate the statistical relationship between unemployment rates and disability benefit receipt; indeed including general measures of health often strengthens that underlying relationship. Intriguingly, we also find some evidence from the United Kingdom and the United States that the prevalence of self?reported ‘objective’ specific indicators of disability are often pro?cyclical – that is, the incidence of specific forms of disability are pro?cyclical whereas claims for disability benefits given specific health conditions are counter?cyclical. Overall, the analysis suggests that, for a range of countries and data sets, levels of claims for disability benefits are not simply related to changes in the incidence of health disability in the population and are strongly influenced by prevailing economic conditions. We discuss the policy implications of these various findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugo Benítez Silva & Richard Disney & Sergi Jiménez-Martín, 2009. "Disability, capacity for work and the business cycle: An international perspective," Economics Working Papers 1171, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1171
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://econ-papers.upf.edu/papers/1171.pdf
    File Function: Whole Paper
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Haveman, Robert H. & Wolfe, Barbara L., 1984. "Disability transfers and early retirement: a casual relationship?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 47-66, June.
    2. Duncan McVicar, 2008. "Why Have Uk Disability Benefit Rolls Grown So Much?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 114-139, February.
    3. 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.
    4. Hassink, R. & van Ours, J.C. & Ridder, G., 1997. "Dismissal through disability," Other publications TiSEM b756763d-1536-4d61-84e4-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Michael Baker & Mark Stabile & Catherine Deri, 2004. "What Do Self-Reported, Objective, Measures of Health Measure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    6. Bridges, Sarah & Disney, Richard, 2010. "Debt and depression," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 388-403, May.
    7. David M. Blau, 2008. "Retirement and Consumption in a Life Cycle Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 35-71.
    8. Thierry Magnac & David Thesmar, 2002. "Identifying Dynamic Discrete Decision Processes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 801-816, March.
    9. Richard Disney & Sarah Smith, 2002. "The Labour Supply Effect of the Abolition of the Earnings Rule for Older Workers in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages 136-152, March.
    10. Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1996. "Public-Policy Uses of Discrete-Choice Dynamic Programming Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 427-432, May.
    11. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    12. Pierre Koning & Daniel Van Vuuren, 2007. "Hidden Unemployment in Disability Insurance," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(4‐5), pages 611-636, December.
    13. Arie Kapteyn & James P. Smith & Arthur van Soest, 2007. "Vignettes and Self-Reports of Work Disability in the United States and the Netherlands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 461-473, March.
    14. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & José M. Labeaga & Cristina Vilaplana Prieto, 2006. "Award errors and permanent disability benefits in Spain," Economics Working Papers 966, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    15. Robert Haveman & Philip de Jong & Barbara Wolfe, 1991. "Disability Transfers and the Work Decision of Older Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 939-949.
    16. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    17. Eric French, 2005. "The Effects of Health, Wealth, and Wages on Labour Supply and Retirement Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 395-427.
    18. Lindeboom, Maarten & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2004. "Cut-point shift and index shift in self-reported health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1083-1099, November.
    19. Bound, John & Schoenbaum, Michael & Stinebrickner, Todd R. & Waidmann, Timothy, 1999. "The dynamic effects of health on the labor force transitions of older workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 179-202, June.
    20. 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.
    21. David Neumark & Elizabeth T. Powers, 2005. "The Effects of Changes in State SSI Supplements on Preretirement Labor Supply," Public Finance Review, , vol. 33(1), pages 3-35, January.
    22. 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.
    23. Disney, Richard & Emmerson, Carl & Wakefield, Matthew, 2006. "Ill health and retirement in Britain: A panel data-based analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 621-649, July.
    24. Duncan McVicar, 2006. "Why do disability benefit rolls vary between regions? A review of the evidence from the USA and the UK," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 519-533.
    25. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
    26. Pierre Koning & Daniel van Vuuren, 2010. "Disability insurance and unemployment insurance as substitute pathways," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(5), pages 575-588.
    27. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2004. "How large is the bias in self-reported disability?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 649-670.
    28. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2009. "Use and misuse of unemployment benefits for early retirement," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 174-185, June.
    29. Taber, Christopher R., 2000. "Semiparametric identification and heterogeneity in discrete choice dynamic programming models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 201-229, June.
    30. 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.
    31. Hugo Benitez-Silva, 2008. "Disability, Social Insurance, and Labor Force Attachment," Department of Economics Working Papers 08-01, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    32. Dwyer, Debra Sabatini & Mitchell, Olivia S., 1999. "Health problems as determinants of retirement: Are self-rated measures endogenous?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 173-193, April.
    33. Brooker, Ann-Sylvia & Frank, John W. & Tarasuk, Valerie S., 1997. "Back pain claim rates and the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 429-439, August.
    34. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "The role of randomized field trials in social science research: a perspective from evaluations of reforms of social welfare programs," CeMMAP working papers CWP23/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    35. Regina Riphahn, 1997. "Disability retirement and unemployment - substitute pathways for labour force exit? An empirical test for the case of Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(5), pages 551-561.
    36. 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.
    37. Michael Anyadike-Danes & Duncan McVicar, 2008. "Has the Boom in Incapacity Benefit Claimant Numbers Passed Its Peak?," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 29(4), pages 415-434, December.
    38. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & John Rust, 2005. "Induced Entry Effects of a $1 for $2 Offset in SSDI Benefits," Department of Economics Working Papers 05-03, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    39. Christina Beatty & Stephen Fothergill, 1996. "Labour Market Adjustment in Areas of Chronic Industrial Decline: The Case of the UK Coalfields," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(7), pages 627-640.
    40. Disney, Richard & Webb, Steven, 1991. "Why Are There So Many Long Term Sick in Britain?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(405), pages 252-262, March.
    41. Haveman, Robert & Wolfe, Barbara, 2000. "The economics of disability and disability policy," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 995-1051, Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Rob Euwals & Annemiek van Vuren & Daniel van Vuuren, 2011. "The impact of reforms on labour market exit probabilities," CPB Discussion Paper 179, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    2. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Antoine Bozio & Carl Emmerson, 2012. "Disability, Health and Retirement in the United Kingdom," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Historical Trends in Mortality and Health, Employment, and Disability Insurance Participatio, pages 41-77, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Purvi Sevak & Lucie Schmidt & Onur Altindag, 2012. "The Great Recession, Older Workers with Disabilities, and Implications for Retirement Security," Working Papers wp277, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & José M. Labeaga & Cristina Vilaplana Prieto, 2006. "Award errors and permanent disability benefits in Spain," Economics Working Papers 966, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    2. Blundell, R. & French, E. & Tetlow, G., 2016. "Retirement Incentives and Labor Supply," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 457-566, Elsevier.
    3. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Iskhakov, Fedor, 2008. "Dynamic Programming Model of Health and Retirement," Memorandum 03/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    5. Jürgen Maurer & Roger Klein & Francis Vella, 2011. "Subjective Health Assessments and Active Labor Market Participation of Older Men: Evidence from a Semiparametric Binary Choice Model with Nonadditive Correlated Individual-specific Effects," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 764-774, August.
    6. Bound, John & Stinebrickner, Todd & Waidmann, Timothy, 2010. "Health, economic resources and the work decisions of older men," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 106-129, May.
    7. Courtney C. Coile, 2015. "Economic Determinants Of Workers’ Retirement Decisions," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 830-853, September.
    8. Jones, Melanie K. & McVicar, Duncan, 2017. "The Dynamics of Disability and Benefit Receipt in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 11186, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Adriaan Kalwij & Frederic Vermeulen, 2008. "Health and labour force participation of older people in Europe: What do objective health indicators add to the analysis?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 619-638, May.
    10. Hamish Low & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Disability risk, disability insurance and life cycle behavior," IFS Working Papers W10/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    11. Disney, Richard & Emmerson, Carl & Wakefield, Matthew, 2006. "Ill health and retirement in Britain: A panel data-based analysis," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 621-649, July.
    12. Hugo Benítez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & Hiu Man Chan & Sofia Cheidvasser & John Rust, 2004. "How large is the bias in self-reported disability?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 649-670.
    13. Lahiri, Kajal & Song, Jae & Wixon, Bernard, 2008. "A model of Social Security Disability Insurance using matched SIPP/Administrative data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 4-20, July.
    14. Meyer, Bruce D. & Mok, Wallace K.C., 2019. "Disability, earnings, income and consumption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 51-69.
    15. Vall Castello, Judit, 2012. "Promoting employment of disabled women in Spain; Evaluating a policy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 82-91.
    16. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3417-3528 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. John Bound & Todd Stinebrickner & Timothy Waidman, 2004. "Using a Structural Retirement Model to Simulate the Effect of Changes to the OASDI and Medicare Programs," Working Papers wp091, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    18. Zantomio, Francesca, 2013. "Older people's participation in extra-cost disability benefits," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 320-330.
    19. Brent Kreider & John Pepper, 2008. "Inferring disability status from corrupt data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 329-349.
    20. Doreen Wing Han Au & Thomas F. Crossley & Martin Schellhorn, 2005. "The effect of health changes and long‐term health on the work activity of older Canadians," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(10), pages 999-1018, October.
    21. Hamish Low & Luigi Pistaferri, 2020. "Disability Insurance: Theoretical Trade‐Offs and Empirical Evidence," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(1), pages 129-164, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Disability; capacity for work; business cycle; international comparisons;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1171. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.econ.upf.edu/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.econ.upf.edu/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.