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Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is there Evidence of Job-Lock?

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  • Brigitte C. Madrian

Abstract

This paper assesses the impact of employer-provided health insurance on job mobility by exploring the extent to which workers are "locked" into their jobs because preexisting conditions exclusions make it expensive for individuals with medical problems to relinquish their current health insurance. I estimate the degree of job-lock by comparing the difference in the turnover rates of those with high and low medical expenses for those with and without employer-provided health insurance. Using data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey, I estimate that job-lock reduces the voluntary turnover rate of those with employer-provided health insurance by 25 percent, from 16 percent to 12 percent per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Brigitte C. Madrian, 1994. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is there Evidence of Job-Lock?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 27-54.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:1:p:27-54.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2118427
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1993. "Limited Insurance Portability and Job Mobility: The Effects of Public Policy on Job-Lock," NBER Working Papers 4479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1993. "Pension portability and labor mobility : Evidence from the survey of income and program participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 299-323, March.
    3. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    4. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1977. "Middle-Age Job Mobility: Its Determinants and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 0161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mortensen, Dale T., 1987. "Job search and labor market analysis," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 849-919 Elsevier.
    6. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1982. "Fringe Benefits and Labor Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 286-298.
    7. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-257, July.
    8. Ann P. Bartel, 1982. "Wages, Nonwage Job Characteristics, and Labor Mobility," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 35(4), pages 578-589, July.
    9. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1993. "Health Insurance Provision and Labor Market Efficiency in the United States," NBER Working Papers 4388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Schiller, Bradley R & Weiss, Randall D, 1979. "The Impact of Private Pensions on Firm Attachment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(3), pages 369-380, August.
    11. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1987. "Pensions, Efficiency Wages, and Job Mobility," NBER Working Papers 2426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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