Safety Nets and Benefit Dependence: Volume 39

Subject:

Table of contents

(15 chapters)
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Preface

Pages xi-xvi
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Abstract

We examine the roles of sample initial conditions and unobserved individual effects in consistent estimation of the dynamic binary response panel data model. Different specifications of the model are estimated using female welfare and labor force participation data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. These include alternative random effects (RE) models, in which the conditional distributions of both the unobserved heterogeneity and the initial conditions are specified, and fixed effects (FE) conditional logit models that make no assumptions on either distribution. There are several findings. First, the hypothesis that the sample initial conditions are exogenous is rejected by both samples. Misspecification of the initial conditions results in drastically overstated estimates of the state dependence and understated estimates of the short- and long-run effects of children on labor force participation. The FE conditional logit estimates are similar to the estimates from the RE model that is flexible with respect to both the initial conditions and the correlation between the unobserved heterogeneity and the covariates. For female labor force participation, there is evidence that fertility choices are correlated with both unobserved heterogeneity and pre-sample participation histories.

Abstract

We analyse the dynamics of social assistance benefit (SA) receipt among working-age adults in Britain between 1991 and 2005. The decline in the annual SA receipt rate was driven by a decline in the SA entry rate rather than by the SA exit rate (which also declined). We examine the determinants of these trends using a multivariate dynamic random effects probit model of SA receipt probabilities applied to British Household Panel Survey data. We show how the model may be used to derive year-by-year predictions of aggregate SA entry, exit and receipt rates. The analysis highlights the importance of the decline in the unemployment rate over the period and other changes in the socio-economic environment including two reforms to the income maintenance system in the 1990s and also illustrates the effects of self-selection (‘creaming’) on observed and unobserved characteristics.

Abstract

This article analyzes transitions into and out of social assistance (SA) in Canada. We estimate dynamic probit models, controlling for endogenous initial conditions and unobserved heterogeneity, using longitudinal data extracted from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) for the years 1993–2010. The data indicate that there are substantial provincial differences in SA participation with higher participation rates in the eastern part of the country. However, since the mid-1990s, participation rates have fallen substantially in all provinces with only a modest increase at the end of the observation period. Results from the probit models suggest that there is a significant time dependency in social assistance, even after controlling for endogenous initial conditions and unobserved heterogeneity. The extent of this state dependence varies across provinces.

Abstract

I study state dependence in social assistance receipt in Germany using annual survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel for the years 1995–2011. There is considerable observed state dependence, with an average persistence rate in benefits of 68 per cent comparing to an average entry rate of just above 3 per cent. To identify a possible structural component, I estimate a series of dynamic random-effects probit models that control for observed and unobserved heterogeneity and endogeneity of initial conditions. I find evidence of substantial structural state dependence in benefit receipt. Estimates suggest that benefit receipt one year ago is associated with an increase in the likelihood of benefit receipt today by a factor of 3.4. This corresponds to an average partial effect of 13 percentage points. Average predicted entry and persistence rates and the absolute level of structural state dependence are higher in Eastern Germany than in Western Germany. I find only little evidence for time variation in state dependence around the years of the Hartz reforms.

Abstract

The administration of social assistance benefits is devolved to local agencies in Belgium, which raises questions about how much variation in spell lengths of benefit receipt is associated with differences across agencies. We address this issue by analysing the monthly hazard of benefit exit using administrative record data for 14,270 individuals in 574 welfare agencies. Our random-effects model allows for differences in both the observed and unobserved characteristics of beneficiaries and of local agencies. There are large differences in median benefit duration for individuals serviced by different welfare agencies: the range is from two months to more than 24 months. We find strong associations between beneficiary characteristics (sex, age, foreign nationality, citizenship acquisition, work history and being a student) and spell length. The estimates show higher odds of exiting social assistance receipt in bigger municipalities and in agencies which provide more generous supplementary assistance, and also strong evidence of shorter episodes in agencies where active labour market programme participation rates are higher.

Abstract

Previous literature shows that activation requirements for welfare recipients reduce welfare participation. However, the effect of mandatory activation on welfare entry and exit rates has not been fully examined. In this article, we use a rich set of register data that covers the entire population of Stockholm to study how the introduction of activation programs aimed at unemployed welfare recipients in various city districts affects the probability of individuals entering and exiting social assistance (SA). Our results show that mandatory activation has no overall average effects on SA entry or SA exit. However, we do find a significant negative effect of mandatory activation on the SA entry rate for young individuals and for unmarried individuals without children. For unmarried individuals without children, we find a positive but statistically insignificant effect on the probability to leave SA. Thus, individuals with fewer family responsibilities seem to be more responsive to the reform.

Abstract

Workers in the United States who lose their job may benefit from temporary assistance programs and may apply for Disability Insurance (DI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We measure whether participation in four temporary assistance programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Unemployment Insurance (UI), and Temporary Disability Insurance programs (TDI)) influence application for DI, SSI, and re-employment. We instrument temporary assistance participation using variation in policies across states and over time. Results from our instrumental variables models suggest that increased access to UI benefits reduces applications for DI. This result is robust to different sensitivity checks. We also find less robust evidence that UI participation increases the probability of return to work and reduces the probability of claiming SSI benefits. In contrast, some of our results suggest a positive effect of SNAP participation on claiming SSI.

Abstract

This article estimates the causal effect of benefit levels on elderly enrollment in two public assistance programs by using the variation in eligibility and benefit levels introduced by old-age pension benefits. The findings are threefold. First, the low take-up among the elderly is not driven by changes in the composition of the eligible pool. Second, old-age pensions decrease the use of public assistance programs by decreasing the gain of participation – the potential benefits. Third, we find program-specific responses: a $100 increase in potential Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits leads to a 4–6 percentage point increase in the take-up probability, but we are unable to estimate consistent results for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Together with the fact that eligible individuals who begin receiving old-age pensions continue to participate in SSI more often than they maintain SNAP enrollment, the different program response could be due to preference for cash over in-kind transfers.

DOI
10.1108/S0147-9121201439
Publication date
2014-08-06
Book series
Research in Labor Economics
Editors
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78190-936-2
eISBN
978-1-78441-110-7
Book series ISSN
0147-9121