Panel Paper: Work Limitations and Disability Benefit Receipt in Europe and the US: Accounting for Self-Reporting Bias Using Vignettes

Thursday, November 6, 2014 : 1:20 PM
Santa Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Frank Heiland, Baruch College and Na Yin, Baruch College - CUNY
We investigate the relationship between individuals’ work limitations and disability benefit receipt in seven European countries and the US using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We account for response scale effects using anchoring vignettes on pain, cardiovascular health, and depression. We find that the relationship between self-reported work limitation and disability receipt is much less pronounced in the US when we adjust for reporting scale effects. The impact of reporting heterogeneity is different in Europe and appears to be country-specific. We show that there are important differences in reporting styles across countries that can be linked to disability policies (most notably program generosity). We discuss the implications for comparative research on disability and show how this approach can be used to predict enrollment in Social Security disability programs in different countries.