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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 017, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor supply; Employment-based health insurance; General equilibrium;

    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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