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The Political Economy of State Provided Health Insurance in the Progressive Era: Evidence from California

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  • Dora L. Costa

Abstract

I investigate why the United States did not adopt European style health insurance in the 1910s by examining voting determinants on the 1918 referendum on state-provided health insurance in California. I find that although the persuasiveness of interest groups, especially doctors, was an important determinant of the 1918 vote, interest groups alone could not explain the resounding defeat of state-provided health insurance. Voters, I find, were unwilling to pass a costly measure with an unpredictable outcome.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5328.

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Date of creation: Oct 1995
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5328

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  1. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard, 1979. "Bureaucrats versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-87, November.
  2. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  3. Poole, Keith T & Rosenthal, Howard, 1993. "The Enduring Nineteenth-Century Battle for Economic Regulation: The Interstate Commerce Act Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 837-60, October.
  4. Peltzman, Sam, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-61, May.
  5. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-31, April.
  6. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
  7. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Gottlieb, Daniel, 2007. "Asymmetric information in late 19th century cooperative insurance societies," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 270-292, April.
  2. Dinan, John & Heckelman, Jac C., 2005. "The anti-tobacco movement in the Progressive Era: A case study of direct democracy in Oregon," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 529-546, October.
  3. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "The U.S. health care system and labor markets," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 50(Jun), pages 137-163.
  4. Emery, J.C. Herbert, 2010. ""Un-American" or unnecessary? America's rejection of compulsory government health insurance in the Progressive Era," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 68-81, January.
  5. J.C. Herbert Emery, 2008. "America’s Rejection of Compulsory Government Health Insurance in the Progressive Era and its Legacy for National Insurance Today," Working Papers 2008-23, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 01 Apr 2008.
  6. Dostie, Benoit & Dupré, Ruth, 2012. "“The people's will”: Canadians and the 1898 referendum on alcohol prohibition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 498-515.

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