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


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


  • Disability insurance
  • Immigrants
  • Social norms
  • Unemployment rates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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