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Research Seminar Series

For questions and suggestions regarding the series, please contact dr. Olaf van Vliet or dr. Marike Knoef .

Preventing NEETs During the Great Recession: The Effects of a Mandatory Activation Program for Young Welfare Recipients

Monday 23 January 2017 11.30 – 12.30h, Kamerlingh Onnes Building, room B020 
Emile Cammeraat (Leiden Law School) 
We study the impact of a mandatory activation program for individuals up to 26 years of age in The Netherlands. The program, introduced in 2009, after the start of the Great Recession, aimed at preventing young NEETs (not in employment, education or training). Using a rich administrative data set for the period 1999-2012, we perform both a differences-in-differences analysis and a regression discontinuity analysis, using individuals 25-26 as a treatment group and those 27-28 years of age as a control group. We find that the reform reduced the number of NEETs on welfare, increased the number of NEETs not on welfare, and had no effect on the overall number of NEETs. Furthermore, we find no `treatment effect' on the employment rate, nor on the enrollment rate in education. Hence, the reform did not have the intended effect of reducing the number of NEETs, but instead pushed the NEETs out of welfare.

Bestedingen van ouderen: de ontwikkeling van het uitgavenpatroon van gepensioneerden onder de loep

Tuesday 27 September 2016, 11.00 – 12.00h, Kamerlingh Onnes Building, room C004 
Anna van der Schors (NIBUD) 
Dit onderzoek geeft inzicht in de bestedingen van gepensioneerden in het licht van allerlei maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen die van invloed zijn op hun financiële situatie. Gekeken is naar de ontwikkeling van het uitgavenpatroon in de periode voorafgaand aan en volgend op pensionering, vanaf 50 jaar tot het moment van overlijden. Hiervoor is gebruik gemaakt van het meest recente Budgetonderzoek van het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS), uit 2013. We zien dat gepensioneerden aan bepaalde posten meer uitgeven dan 65-minners. Vooral aan de zorgkosten wordt meer uitgegeven en we verwachten, gezien het huidige zorgstelsel, WMO en Wet langdurige zorg, dat deze kosten in de toekomst zullen toenemen. 
Ook aan huishoudelijke hulp, stookkosten en contributies en abonnementen wordt meer uitgegeven naarmate men ouder wordt. Bij gepensioneerden vinden we een duidelijke stijging bij de vrijetijdsuitgaven, maar als ze ouder worden nemen deze uitgaven weer af. 
Wanneer een koophuis is afbetaald wordt minder uitgegeven aan woonlasten. Maar er zijn wel zorgen over de groep huurders en koopwoningbezitters met een aflossingsvrije hypotheek of een nog niet afbetaalde hypotheek.


Wednesday 31 August 2016, 11.00 - 12.00h, Kamerlingh Onnes Building, room B035 
Olaf van Vliet (Leiden Law School) 
Recently, Leiden University has adopted a Regulation for Data Management. Data management includes all decisions and actions needed to organize, structure, store and care for the information used or generated during a research project. The purpose of data management is to make research data discoverable, accessible and understandable in the long term. As most of us are working with data, Leiden University’s new regulation has implications for us as researchers. For instance, one of the implications is that each research project should be equipped with a Data Management Plan. In this Research Seminar, I will introduce the new regulation. Furthermore, we can discuss how we can make the research projects of our department ‘data management-proof’.

Making Disability Work: The Effects of Financial Incentives on Partially Disabled Workers

Thursday 31 March 2016, 11.30 – 12.30h, Kamerlingh Onnes Building, room C020 
Pierre Koning (Leiden Law School) 
This study provides insight in the responsiveness of disabled workers to financial incentives, using administrative individual data from the Netherlands from 2006 to 2013. We focus on workers receiving partial DI benefits and with substantial residual work capacities that can be exploited. After the first phase of benefit entitlement, workers that do not use their residual income capacity experience a large drop in benefit income. In effect, this implies a substantial increase in incentives to resume work. With entitlement periods in the first phase of DI benefits varying across individuals, we use a difference-in-difference approach to analyze the effects on the incidence of work, the wage earnings and full work resumption of disabled workers. Based on the effect estimate on work incidence, we infer a labor elasticity rate of 0.12. Elasticity estimates are highest among younger DI recipients, as well as individuals with mental impairments. The incentive change has only a limited impact on wage earnings of partially disabled workers and no significant impact on work resumption rates.

Stimulating prosocial behavior by way of punishment: a field experiment into sorting of household waste

Tuesday 12 January 2016, 11.30 – 12.30h, Kamerlingh Onnes Building, room A014 
Ben Vollaard (with Daan van Soest), Tilburg University
When using extrinsic incentives to stimulate prosocial behavior, rewards are the policy of choice, even though the evidence suggests that the ‘carrot’ may be less effective than the ‘stick’. We focus on behavior that is typically stimulated by rewards and moral appeals: sorting household waste. We study the effect of stressing the illegal nature of incorrectly sorting waste, and subsequent enforcement of the rules (by the so-called ‘kliko-politie’). For a period of a month, detected offenders get a highly visible, brightly colored warning label attached to their garbage container; repeat offenders may get fined. In addition, a random sample receives feedback in the form of a white label that no wrongdoing has been detected. We randomly vary the timing of introduction of this one-month treatment among 60,000 households in the city of Tilburg, the Netherlands. We find a sharp increase in the percentage of household waste that is sorted in response to the treatment. Given concerns about loss of intrinsic motivation, we follow households for many months after the intervention ended. We find some decay in the behavioral effect over time. The white labels do not seem to have had an effect on behavior.   

The elasticity of taxable labour income in the Netherlands

Monday 14 December 2015 
Egbert Jongen (Leiden Law School) 
We study the elasticity of taxable labour income of employees in the Netherlands. The large 2001 Dutch tax reform generates substantial variation in marginal tax rates at different segments of the income distribution. We instrument the endogenous marginal tax rates with synthetic marginal tax rates using projected income. We control for exogenous income growth by including a number of socioeconomic variables, sector dummies, and log base-year income or a spline in log base-year income. For all workers we find an elasticity of 0.24. For high wage workers we find higher elasticities. We also compare the elasticity of taxable labour income with the elasticity of hours worked.

Pension wealth and retirement expenditure goals before and after the crisis

Monday 2 November 2015 
Lieke Kools (Leiden Law School) 
Based on a combination of survey and administrative data, De Bresser and Knoef (2015) investigated the retirement readiness of the Dutch population in January 2008, at the eve of the downturn in the financial markets. The majority of Dutch households saved enough for their retirement, but there was also a substantial number of households who were expected to fall short with regard to their self-reported minimal and preferred level of expenditures during retirement. When accrued pension rights and savings (without housing wealth) were considered, 35% of the people was expected not to meet their self-reported desired consumption needs during retirement. 26% was expected not even to be able to fulfill his or her self-reported minimal consumption needs. During the crisis house prices have fallen. Also, pension entitlements have been cut. On the other hand, people may have adjusted their consumption ambitions for retirement as a result of the crisis and the gloomy media reports about pensions. Therefore, we have again conducted the questionnaire on minimal and preferred level of expenditures during retirement (consumption ambitions). The first results show people adjusted their consumption ambitions downwards, though this adjustment is on average smaller than the drop in wealth holdings. Still, more individuals are now able to meet there consumption ambitions after retirement, suggesting that the ‘right’ people have adjusted their ambitions.  

Home production as a substitute to market consumption

Monday 5 October 2015 
Jim Been (Leiden Law School) 
Becker’s 1965 theory of home production suggests that people will substitute away from market consumption as the opportunity cost of time drops. This makes people able to smooth consumption in response to shocks in income. Prior studies have investigated the effect of a drop in the cost of time on home production by analyzing shocks of retirement, unemployment and disability. Such shocks both decrease the households monetary budget and increase the time budget simultaneously. Hence, home production responses are the cumulative effect of decreased market consumption and increased non-market time available. The seminar discusses two recent papers that contribute to the literature by separating an increased time endowment from a pure substitution effect. The first paper estimates an elasticity between market consumption and home production for retirees using exogenous and unanticipated variation in houseprice shocks from the Great Recession. The second paper estimates the causal effect of couples’ retirement decisions on simultaneous consumption spending and home production decisions. For causal identification, the paper exploits legislation regarding Social Security benefits claiming. Both papers suggest  that much of the home production responses to shocks come from increased time endowments. The substitutability between market consumption and home production exists, but the scope for substitution is rather limited. The results indicate that traditional analyses of the adequacy of retirement savings, using income or consumption spending, underestimate the adequacy of retirement savings for well-being as retirees have more non-market time available.