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Speaker Series: Manasi Deshpande, University of Chicago

  • When: April 11, 2018, 12–1:30 pm
  • Where: ABF Woods Conference Room, 750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 4th Floor, Lakeside, Chicago IL 60611

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Who is Screened Out? Application Costs and the Targeting of Disability Programs

We study the effect of application costs on the targeting of disability programs using the closings of Social Security Administration field offices, which provide assistance with filing disability applications. We find that field office closings, which provide assistance with filing disability applications. We find that field office closings lead to large and persistent reductions in the number of disability recipients and reduce targeting efficiency based on current eligibility standards. The number of disability recipients declines by 13% in surrounding areas, with the largest effects for applicants with moderately severe conditions, and low education levels. Evidence on channels suggests that increased congestion at neighboring offices is more important than higher travel or information costs.

Courtesy of University of Chicago

Manasi Deshpande, Assistant Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago, studies the design of social insurance and public assistance programs, their effects on recipients and society, and their interaction with labor markets. Her research interests include empirical public finance and labor economics, with a focus on the social safety net.

Deshpande’s dissertation on the long-term effects of disability programs received the 2015 Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management PhD Dissertation Award, which honors emergent scholars in the field of public policy and management. It also garnered the 2015 W. E. Upjohn Institute Dissertation Award, as well as the 2016 National Academy of Social Insurance John Heinz Dissertation Award.

Deshpande earned a BA with highest honors in economics, mathematics, and Plan II Honors (humanities) from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago. She also served as a policy advisor at the White House National Economic Council and as a research assistant at the Hamilton Project at Brookings.

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