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Essays on wealth, health, and data collection

On 21 November 2018, Lieke Kools defended her thesis 'Essays on wealth, health, and data collection'. The doctoral research was supervised by Prof. dr. K.P. Goudswaard en Prof. dr. C.L.J. Caminada.

Lieke Kools
21 November 2018
Leiden Repository

One of the aims of social insurance programs is to provide a financial safety net to individuals when encountering adverse circumstances. However, apart from offering mere protection, a system of social insurance can also be designed with the aim to increase overall welfare. In order to make the appropriate design decisions one needs to understand how individuals react to both negative shocks, such as health and wealth shocks, and the system put in place to protect them from these shocks. To gain understanding on such behavioral effects, access to high quality microdata is crucial. 

Based on matched survey and administrative records the first chapter of the thesis explains to what extent individuals incorporated the wealth declines incurred during the recent financial crisis in their retirement expenditure goals. This knowledge helps us understand to what extent people ‘self insure’ against wealth losses and how likely it is that individuals unexpectedly have to change their consumption patterns at retirement. In a similar fashion, the second chapter used survey data to explain how consumption preferences change when someone becomes ill, informing the optimal design of health insurance and retirement plans. The third chapter shows, based on register data from a workplace reintegration provider, if and under what circumstances graded return-to-work can effectively reduce one’s probability of entering disability insurance. The thesis concludes with a chapter evaluating a novel technique to sample households to participate in surveys similar to the on es used as input to the first chapters of this book. 

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