IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jhecon/v38y2014icp65-76.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Who pays for public employee health costs?

Author

Listed:
  • Clemens, Jeffrey
  • Cutler, David M.

Abstract

We analyze the incidence of public-employee health benefits. Because these benefits are negotiated through the political process, relevant labor market institutions deviate significantly from the competitive, private-sector benchmark. Empirically, we find that roughly 15 percent of the cost of recent benefit growth was passed onto school district employees through reductions in wages and salaries. Strong teachers’ unions were associated with relatively strong linkages between benefit growth and growth in total compensation. Our analysis is consistent with the view that the costs of public workers’ benefits are difficult to monitor, contributing to benefit oriented, and often under-funded, compensation schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • Clemens, Jeffrey & Cutler, David M., 2014. "Who pays for public employee health costs?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 65-76.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:65-76
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.04.008
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167629614000630
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2018. "Shrouded attributes, consumer myopia and information suppression in competitive markets," Chapters,in: Handbook of Behavioral Industrial Organization, chapter 3, pages 40-74 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzetto, Giacomo A.M., 2014. "Shrouded costs of government: The political economy of state and local public pensions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-105.
    3. Jeffrey Clemens & Stephen Miran, 2012. "Fiscal Policy Multipliers on Subnational Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 46-68, May.
    4. David C. Wyld, 2010. "ASecond Life for organizations?: managing in the new, virtual world," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(6), pages 529-562, May.
    5. Follette, Glenn & Kusko, Andrea & Lutz, Byron, 2008. "State and Local Finances and the Macroeconomy: The High–Employment Budget and Fiscal Impetus," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 61(3), pages 531-545, September.
    6. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
    7. Katherine Baicker & Douglas Staiger, 2005. "Fiscal Shenanigans, Targeted Federal Health Care Funds, and Patient Mortality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 345-386.
    8. Kolstad, Jonathan T. & Kowalski, Amanda E., 2016. "Mandate-based health reform and the labor market: Evidence from the Massachusetts reform," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 81-106.
    9. Clemens, Jeffrey & Cutler, David M., 2014. "Who pays for public employee health costs?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 65-76.
    10. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich & Laura Feiveson & Zachary Liscow & William Gui Woolston, 2012. "Does State Fiscal Relief during Recessions Increase Employment? Evidence from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 118-145, August.
    11. Cullen, Julie Berry, 2003. "The impact of fiscal incentives on student disability rates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1557-1589, August.
    12. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1996. "How Teachers' Unions Affect Education Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 671-718.
    13. Rauh, Joshua D., 2010. "Are State Public Pensions Sustainable? Why the Federal Government Should Worry About State Pension Liabilities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 63(3), pages 585-601, September.
    14. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-183, May.
    15. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel Wilson, 2017. "Are State Governments Roadblocks to Federal Stimulus? Evidence on the Flypaper Effect of Highway Grants in the 2009 Recovery Act," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 253-292, May.
    16. Marika Cabral & Caroline Hoxby, 2012. "The Hated Property Tax: Salience, Tax Rates, and Tax Revolts," NBER Working Papers 18514, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. repec:nbr:nberch:13344 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Julie Berry Cullen & Randall Reback, 2006. "Tinkering Toward Accolades: School Gaming Under a Performance Accountability System," NBER Working Papers 12286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto, 2013. "Shrouded Costs of Government: Political Economy of State and Local Public Pensions Data," Working Papers 660, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    20. Robert Novy‐Marx & Joshua Rauh, 2011. "Public Pension Promises: How Big Are They and What Are They Worth?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(4), pages 1211-1249, August.
    21. Poterba, James M. & Rueben, Kim S., 2001. "Fiscal News, State Budget Rules, and Tax-Exempt Bond Yields," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 537-562, November.
    22. Clemens, Jeffrey, 2013. "State Fiscal Adjustment During Times of Stress: Possible Causes of the Severity and Composition of Budget Cuts," MPRA Paper 55921, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Robert C. Lowry, 2001. "A Visible Hand? Bond Markets, Political Parties, Balanced Budget Laws, and State Government Debt," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(1), pages 49-72, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Lutz, Byron & Sheiner, Louise, 2014. "The fiscal stress arising from state and local retiree health obligations," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 130-146.
    2. Lubotsky, Darren & Olson, Craig A., 2015. "Premium copayments and the trade-off between wages and employer-provided health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 63-79.
    3. Clemens, Jeffrey & Cutler, David M., 2014. "Who pays for public employee health costs?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 65-76.
    4. Andrew Chamberlain, 2015. "Are State Workers Overpaid? Survey Evidence from Liquor Privatization in Washington State," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 347-388, December.
    5. Byron Lutz & Louise Sheiner, 2014. "The Fiscal Stress Arising from State and Local Retiree Health Obligations," NBER Working Papers 19779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Qin, Paige & Chernew, Michael, 2014. "Compensating wage differentials and the impact of health insurance in the public sector on wages and hours," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 77-87.
    7. Jeffrey Clemens & Lisa B. Kahn & Jonathan Meer, 2018. "The Minimum Wage, Fringe Benefits, and Worker Welfare," NBER Working Papers 24635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Morrill, Melinda Sandler, 2014. "Active and retired public employees’ health insurance: Potential data sources," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 147-152.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health insurance; Benefit incidence; State and local government finances; Public sector unions; Fiscal federalism;

    JEL classification:

    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:38:y:2014:i:c:p:65-76. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505560 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.