Who goes on disability when times are tough? The role of work norms among immigrants

Delia Furtado, Kerry L. Papps, Nikolaos Theodoropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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We consider how work norms affect the likelihood of people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in response to worsening economic conditions. By focusing on immigrants in the US, we can examine the influence of work norms in a person’s home country, which we argue are exogenous to labor market prospects in the US. We find that the probability of receiving SSDI benefits is more sensitive to economic downturns among immigrants from countries where people place less importance on work. We also provide evidence that this result is not driven by differential labor market sensitivities to the business cycle or differences in other characteristics that might be correlated with norms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103983
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Economic Review
Early online date22 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This is a significantly revised version of the paper, ?Who Goes on Disability when Times are Tough? The Role of Social Costs of Receipt among Immigrants.? We are grateful to Eric Gould, Erzo Luttmer, Lucie Schmidt, and several careful referees as well as participants at the 2018 Michigan Retirement Research Center (MRRC) researcher workshop, the 2018 SHARE meeting in Malta, the 2nd Annual Dulbea Workshop on the Economics of Disability, the 2020 EALE-SOLE-AASLE World Conference, and seminar participants at the University of Cyprus, University of South Florida, and the University of Connecticut.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Disability insurance
  • Immigrants
  • Social norms
  • Unemployment rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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