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Is There Job Lock? Evidence from the Pre-HIPAA Era

Listed author(s):
  • Mark C. Berger

    (Department of Economics, The University of Kentucky)

  • Dan A. Black


    (Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University)

  • Frank A. Scott


    (Department of Economics, The University of Kentucky)

We estimate discrete time hazard models of employment duration and standard logarithmic wage equations using the 1987 and 1990 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine the phenomenon of job lock. We test for job lock using differences-in-differences approaches among those with and without employer-provided health insurance and family members with and without health problems. We find no statistically significant evidence of job lock on employment duration or wages using this approach. We do find some evidence of shorter employment spells for those with employer-provided health insurance and spouse-provided health insurance, and longer employment spells for those with employer-provided health insurance and large families. Others have interpreted these findings as evidence of job lock. However, the wage equation results using these measures are not consistent with job lock. Although anecdotal evidence makes it clear that some workers have been locked into less-than-optimal jobs because of the combination of health problems and employer-provided health insurance, our results do not suggest that this phenomenon is pervasive in the U.S. economy.

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Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 70 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 953-976

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:70:4:y:2004:p:953-976
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