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2012 Conference Presentation

EconomicsEquity United Kingdom

6 September 2012

Disability costs and equivalence scales in the older population

Marcello Morciano, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Ruth Hancock, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom
Stephen Pudney, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom


We use a standard of living (SoL) approach to estimate older people’s disability costs, using data on 8,000 individuals from the UK Family Resources Survey.

We extend previous research in two ways. First, by allowing for a more flexible relationship between SoL and income, the structure of the estimated disability cost and equivalence scale is not dictated by a restrictive functional form assumption. Second, we allow for the latent nature of disability and SoL, addressing measurement error in the disability and SoL indicators in surveys.

We find that disability costs are strongly related to severity of disability, and vary with income in absolute and proportionate terms. Older people above the median disability level require an extra £99 per week (2007 prices) on average to reach the standard of living of an otherwise similar person at the median. Costs faced by older people in the highest decile of disability average £180.


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