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Faculty of Economics

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Low, H. and Pistaferri, L.

Disability insurance and the dynamics of the incentive-insurance tradeoff

American Economic Review

Abstract: We provide a life-cycle framework for comparing insurance and disincentive effects of disability benefits. The risks that individuals face and the parameters of the Disability Insurance (DI) program are estimated from consumption, health, disability insurance, and wage data. We characterize the effects of disability insurance and study how policy reforms impact behavior and welfare. DI features high rejection rates of disabled applicants and some acceptance of healthy applicants. Despite worse incentives, welfare increases as programs become less strict or generosity increases. Disability insurance interacts with welfare programs: making unconditional means-tested programs more generous improves disability insurance targeting and increases welfare.

Keywords: Disability, Social security, Savings behavior, Wage risk

JEL Codes: D91, H53, H55, J26

Author links:

Publisher's Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.20110108



Cambridge Working Paper in Economics Version of Paper: Disability Insurance and the Dynamics of the Incentive-Insurance Tradeoff, Low, H. and Pistaferri, L., (2014)

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