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The political economy of the disability insurance: theory and evidence of gubernatorial learning

Iyengar, R and Mastrobuoni, G (2014) The political economy of the disability insurance: theory and evidence of gubernatorial learning. [UNSPECIFIED]

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The dramatic rise in the disability insurance (DI) rolls in the last 20 years has been the subject of much controversy. While the relationship between DI and labor force participation has been the subject of a growing literature, the mechanism of this transition from employment to DI remains unclear. We hypothesize that one mechanism is the state-level administration of the program which creates a classic principal-agent problem. We analyze the conflict of interests for Disability Determination Services agencies between Social Security Administration (SSA) standards and state gubernatorial political interests interacted with the increased demand for disability insurance as an alternative for low-skilled employment during the period of 1982 to 2013. We find evidence that multi-term governors allow a greater fraction of applicants than do first-term governors, but only up to year 2000, when allowance rates started to decrease over time. We develop a model that illustrates how these differences can be due to the type of monitoring conducted by the SSA. We provide additional evidence supporting this hypothesis analyzing how the effects interact with economic and political constraints. JEL codes: H55, I18, I38, G22

Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2015 14:57
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2021 01:15

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