Fall 2017 – Spring 2018

Friday, September 29, 2017

Ethan Leiber, Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame

“Targeting with In-kind Transfers: Evidence from Medicaid Home Care”

Abstract: Many of the most important government programs make transfers in kind as opposed to in cash. Making transfers in kind has the obvious cost that recipients would often prefer cost-equivalent cash transfers. But making transfers in kind can have benefits as well, including better targeting transfers to desired recipients or states of the world. In this paper, we exploit large-scale randomized experiments run by three state Medicaid programs to investigate this central tradeoff for in-kind provision. We find that in-kind provision of formal home care significantly reduces the value of benefits to recipients while targeting benefits to a small fraction of the eligible population that has a greater demand for formal home care, is sicker, and has worse informal care options than the average eligible. Under a wide range of assumptions within a standard model, the targeting benefit of in-kind provision exceeds the distortion cost. This highlights an important cost of recent reforms that move toward more flexible, cash-like benefits

Friday, October 13, 2017

 Stephen P. Ryan, Professor in Economics
Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis