A new look at the distributional effects of economic growth during the 1980s: a comparative study of the United States and Germany
Beginning in 1983, and following the worst recession since the Great Depression, the United States experienced six years of uninterrupted economic growth, the longest such period since World War II. Along with this expansion came an increase in income inequality that many suggest diminished the middle class and made the United States unique among industrialized nations in its pace of economic growth and increase in income equality. This paper addresses these issues by using kernel density estimation to document changes in the United States income distribution during the 1980s economic ...
Protecting working-age people with disabilities: experiences of four industrialized nations
Although industrialized nations have long provided public protection to working-age individuals with disabilities, the form has changed over time. The impetus for change has been multifaceted: rapid growth in program costs; greater awareness that people with impairments are able and willing to work; and increased recognition that protecting the economic security of people with disabilities might best be done by keeping them in the labor market. We describe the evolution of disability programs in four countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States. We show how growth in the ...
The Supplemental Security Income program
Economic outcomes of working-age people with disabilities over the business cycle: an examination of the 1980s and 1990s
We examine the rate of employment and the household income of the working-age population (aged 25-61) with and without disabilities over the business cycles of the 1980s and 1990s using data from the March Current Population Survey and the National Health Interview Survey. In general, we find that while the employment of working-age men and women with and without disabilities exhibited a procyclical trend during the 1980s business cycle, this was not the case during the 1990s expansion. During the 1990s, the employment of working-age men and women without disabilities continued to be ...
United States disability policy in a changing environment
Two factors are likely to cause the debate surrounding disability policy to intensify over the next decade. First, the protracted period of economic growth that the United States has experienced since 1992 cannot last forever. And, applications for DI and SSI are sensitive to the business cycle. A downturn in the economy will increase applications and heighten efforts to broaden the categorical definition of disability. This is even more likely since the welfare reforms of 1996 have made it more difficult for low-income people to be eligible for other programs. Second, the percentage of the ...
Left behind: SSI in the era of welfare reform
SSI was established in 1972, born out of a compromise at the time between those wanting to provide a guaranteed income floor and those wishing to limit it to individuals not expected to work: the aged, blind, and disabled. SSI is now the largest federal means-tested program in the United States, serving a population dominated by low-income adults and children with disabilities. With other forms of federal support devolving to state programs (e.g., welfare), policymakers pressing to redefine social expectations about who should and should not work, and the Americans with Disabilities Act ...
The timing of disability insurance application: a choice-based semiparametric hazard model
We use a choice-based subsample of Social Security Disability Insurance applicants from the 1978 Social Security Survey of Disability and Work to test the importance of policy variables on the timing of application for disability insurance benefits following the onset of a work limiting health condition. We correct for choice-based sampling by extending the Manski-Lerman (1977) correction to the likelihood function of our continuous time hazard model defined with semiparametric unmeasured heterogeneity and find that this correction significantly affects the results. We find that economic ...
Recent declines in work and income among men with disabilities
Disability and work: the experiences of American and German men
This paper compares the economic well-being of men with disabilities in the United States and Germany. The results indicate that while the prevalence of disability is similar, the social institutions developed in the two countries result in quite different patterns of employment, transfer receipt, and economic well-being among the population with disabilities. However, while work is more important among German men with disabilities, it also is a very important component of the economic well-being of American men with disabilities. Furthermore, at least initially, a significant fraction of men ...
The changing role of disabled children benefits
The U.S. federal government?s program that provides cash benefits to low-income families with a disabled child has grown rapidly over the past 25 years. This growth reflects changes in the implementation of the program rather than declines in children?s health or family income. Unfortunately, most disabled children from families that receive such benefits do not become employed when they grow up, so these policy changes may relegate these children to lifetime government support?probably near the poverty threshold?at the expense of taxpayers.