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Employment-based health insurance and aggregate labor supply

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  • Feng, Zhigang
  • Zhao, Kai

Abstract

We study the impact of the U.S. employment-based health insurance system on the employment rate, the shares of full-time/part-time workers, and aggregate hours worked in a general equilibrium life cycle model with incomplete markets and idiosyncratic risks in both income and medical expenses. In contrast to most Europeans, who get universal health insurance from the government, most working-age Americans get health insurance through their employers. We find that the employment-based health insurance system provides Americans with an extra incentive to work and work full-time. In a calibrated version of the model, we assess the extent to which the different health insurance systems account for the differences in employment rate and full-time/part-time shares of workers between the U.S. and European countries. Our quantitative results suggest that the different health insurance systems can account for a significant fraction of the differences in employment rate and full-time/part-time shares of workers between the two regions. In addition, we find that the employment-based health insurance system is one of the reasons why many Americans work more than Europeans.

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  • Feng, Zhigang & Zhao, Kai, 2018. "Employment-based health insurance and aggregate labor supply," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 156-174.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:154:y:2018:i:c:p:156-174
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2018.08.009
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    Cited by:

    1. Siew Ling Yew & Jie Zhang, 2023. "Health Externalities to Productivity and Efficient Health Subsidies," CAMA Working Papers 2023-31, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Tianxu Chen, 2019. "Health Insurance Coverage and Marriage Behavior: Is There Evidence of Marriage Lock?," Working papers 2019-09, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Jang, Youngsoo, 2019. "Credit, Default, and Optimal Health Insurance," MPRA Paper 95397, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Tianxu Chen, 2019. "Health Insurance and Marriage Behavior: Will Marriage Lock Hold Under Healthcare Reform?," Working papers 2019-10, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    5. Youngsoo Jang, 2023. "Credit, Default, And Optimal Health Insurance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 64(3), pages 943-977, August.
    6. Chaoran Chen & Zhigang Feng & Jiaying Gu, 2022. "Health, Health Insurance, and Inequality," Working Papers tecipa-730, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    7. Hui He & Kevin X.D. Huang & Lei Ning, 2021. "Why Do Americans Spend So Much More On Health Care Than Europeans?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(4), pages 1363-1399, November.
    8. Nga Le Thi Quynh & Groot, Wim & Tomini, Sonila M. & Tomini, Florian, 2017. "Effects of health insurance on labour supply: A systematic review," MERIT Working Papers 2017-017, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    9. Vegard M. Nygaard & Gajendran Raveendranathan, 2021. "The impact of U.S. employer-sponsored insurance in the 20th century," Department of Economics Working Papers 2021-11, McMaster University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor supply; Employment-based health insurance; General equilibrium;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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