NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Work Disability, Work, and Justification Bias in Europe and the U.S.

Arie Kapteyn, James P. Smith, Arthur van Soest

NBER Working Paper No. 15245
Issued in August 2009
NBER Program(s):   AG   HC   HE

To analyze the effect of health on work, many studies use a simple self-assessed health measure based upon a question such as "do you have an impairment or health problem limiting the kind or amount of work you can do?" A possible drawback of such a measure is the possibility that different groups of respondents may use different response scales. This is commonly referred to as "differential item functioning" (DIF). A specific form of DIF is justification bias: to justify the fact that they don't work, non-working respondents may classify a given health problem as a more serious work limitation than working respondents. In this paper we use anchoring vignettes to identify justification bias and other forms of DIF across countries and socio-economic groups among older workers in the U.S. and Europe. Generally, we find differences in response scales across countries, partly related to social insurance generosity and employment protection. Furthermore, we find significant evidence of justification bias in the U.S. but not in Europe, suggesting differences in social norms concerning work.

download in pdf format
   (211 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (211 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15245

Published: Work Disability, Work, and Justification Bias in Europe and the United States , Arie Kapteyn, James P. Smith, Arthur van Soest. in Explorations in the Economics of Aging, Wise. 2011

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Banks, Kapteyn, Smith, and van Soest w11558 Work Disability is a Pain in the *****, Especially in England, The Netherlands, and the United States
Bound w2997 Self-Reported vs. Objective Measures of Health in Retirement Models
Benitez Silva, Buchinsky, Chan, Sheydvasser (Cheidvasser), and Rust w7526 How Large is the Bias is Self-Reported Disability?
Boersch-Supan and Juerges w17079 Disability, Pension Reform and Early Retirement in Germany
Dominguez and Panthaki w11769 What Defines "News" in Foreign Exchange Markets?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us