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Employment-based Health Insurance and Misallocation: Implications for the Macroeconomy

Author

Listed:
  • David Chivers

    (Durham University)

  • Zhigang Feng

    (University of Nebraska)

  • Anne Villamil

    (University of Iowa)

Abstract

Most working-age Americans obtain health insurance through the workplace. U.S. law requires employers to use a common price, but the value of insurance varies with idiosyncratic health risk. Hence, linking employment and health insurance creates a wedge between the marginal cost and benefit of insurance. We study the impact of this wedge on occupational choice and welfare in a general equilibrium model. Agents face idiosyncratic health expenditure shocks, have heterogeneous managerial and worker productivity, and choose whether to be workers or entrepreneurs. First, we consider a private insurance indemnity policy that removes the link between employment and health insurance, so only ability matters for occupational choice. By construction, this is the most efficient policy. We find a welfare gain of 2.28% from decoupling health insurance and employment. Second, we tighten the link by increasing employment-based health insurance from the current level of 62% to 100%, and find a welfare loss of - 0.61%. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • David Chivers & Zhigang Feng & Anne Villamil, 2017. "Employment-based Health Insurance and Misallocation: Implications for the Macroeconomy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 23, pages 125-149, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:15-311
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2016.09.002
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Anne Villamil & Zhigang Feng, 2017. "Regressive Subsidy to EHI and Entrepreneurial Talent Allocation," 2017 Meeting Papers 1059, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health insurance; Occupational choice; Entrepreneur; Misallocation; Uncertainty; Heterogeneity; Mandate; Patient protection; Affordable care act;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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