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The Impact of Employer-Provided Health Insurance on Dynamic Employment Transitions


  • Donna B. Gilleskie
  • Byron F. Lutz


We estimate the impact of employer-provided health insurance (EPHI) on the job mobility of males over time using a dynamic empirical model that accounts for unobserved heterogeneity. Previous studies of job-lock reach different conclusions about possible distortions in labor mobility stemming from an employment-based health insurance system: a few authors find no evidence of job-lock, although most find reductions in the mobility of insured workers of between 20 and 40 percent. We use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth which includes variables describing the health insurance an individual holds, as well as whether he is offered insurance by his employer. This additional information allows us to model the latent individual characteristics that are correlated with the offer of EPHI, the acceptance of EPHI, and employment transitions. Our results provide an estimate of job-lock unbiased through correlation with positive job characteristics and individual specific turnover propensity. We find no evidence of job-lock among married males, and produce small estimates of job-lock among unmarried males of between 10 and 15 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Donna B. Gilleskie & Byron F. Lutz, 2002. "The Impact of Employer-Provided Health Insurance on Dynamic Employment Transitions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 129-162.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:37:y:2002:i:1:p:129-162

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blau, David M, 1998. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Married Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 595-629, July.
    2. Jonathan Gruber, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement in Canada," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 73-99 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert W. Fairlie & Kanika Kapur & Susan Gates, 2016. "Job Lock: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 92-121, January.
    2. Bansak, Cynthia & Raphael, Steven, 2005. "The State Health Insurance Program and Job Mobility: Identifying Job Lock among Working Parents in Near-Poor Households," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt87n5j524, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    3. Fossen, Frank M. & König, Johannes, 2015. "Public health insurance and entry into self-employment," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112934, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Ammar Farooq & Adriana Kugler, 2016. "Beyond Job Lock: Impacts of Public Health Insurance on Occupational and Industrial Mobility," NBER Working Papers 22118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Scott J. Adams, 2004. "Employer-provided Health Insurance and Job Change," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(3), pages 357-369, July.
    6. Hansen, Gary D. & Hsu, Minchung & Lee, Junsang, 2014. "Health insurance reform: The impact of a Medicare buy-in," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 315-329.
    7. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9856-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Anna Huysse-Gaytandjieva & Wim Groot & Milena Pavlova, 2013. "A New Perspective on Job Lock," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 587-610, July.
    9. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "The U.S. health care system and labor markets," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 50(Jun), pages 137-163.
    10. Anna Sanz De Galdeano, 2004. "Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Evidence from Clinton's Second Mandate," CSEF Working Papers 122, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    11. Lacroix, G & Brouard M-E, 2011. "Work Absenteeism Due to a Chronic Disease," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 11/15, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    12. Lui, Hon-Kwong & Suen, Wing, 2011. "The effects of public housing on internal mobility in Hong Kong," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 15-29, March.
    13. Tracy L. Regan & Gulcin Gumus, 2006. "Tax Incentives as a Solution to the Uninsured: Evidence from the Self-Employed," Working Papers 0709, University of Miami, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2007.
    14. Hamersma, Sarah & Kim, Matthew, 2009. "The effect of parental Medicaid expansions on job mobility," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 761-770, July.
    15. repec:kap:sbusec:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-017-9843-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Bradley, Cathy J. & Neumark, David & Barkowski, Scott, 2013. "Does employer-provided health insurance constrain labor supply adjustments to health shocks? New evidence on women diagnosed with breast cancer," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 833-849.
    17. Fairlie, Robert W. & Kapur, Kanika & Gates, Susan, 2011. "Is employer-based health insurance a barrier to entrepreneurship?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 146-162, January.
    18. Dale-Olsen, Harald, 2006. "Wages, fringe benefits and worker turnover," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 87-105, February.
    19. Jaewhan Kim & Peter Philips, 2010. "Health Insurance and Worker Retention in the Construction Industry," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 20-38, March.
    20. Fairlie, Robert W. & London, Rebecca A., 2008. "Race, Ethnicity and the Dynamics of Health Insurance Coverage," IZA Discussion Papers 3708, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Chute, Benjamin W. & Wunnava, Phanindra V., 2015. "Is There a Link Between Employer-Provided Health Insurance and Job Mobility? Evidence from Recent Micro Data," IZA Discussion Papers 8989, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    22. Harris, Douglas N. & Adams, Scott J., 2007. "Understanding the level and causes of teacher turnover: A comparison with other professions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 325-337, June.

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