Measuring Disability

Arie Kapteyn, RAND

Disability rolls vary greatly across countries. Most likely, differences in definition, incentives, and eligibility rules play a role in explaining the very different incidence of disability benefits across countries. A fundamental problem with explaining differences in DI benefit take up is the measurement of disability itself. Whether one considers a particular health problem as limiting one's disability for work is colored by cultural and institutional differences as well as personal experiences and differences in tastes and opinions. We conduct so-called vignette experiments where we normalize respondents' evaluation of their own health related work limitations by their rating of a number of stylized hypothetical cases. The experiments are being done in The Netherlands and the U.S. The literature on health related work limitations has suggested several biases that may influence respondents' evaluation of their own health related work limitations. Our preliminary findings suggest a relatively minor role for such biases.

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Presented in Session 143: Disability Measurement Issues