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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.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 37 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 129-162

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:37:y:2002:i:1:p:129-162
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://jhr.uwpress.org/

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  1. Mroz, Thomas A., 1999. "Discrete factor approximations in simultaneous equation models: Estimating the impact of a dummy endogenous variable on a continuous outcome," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 233-274, October.
  2. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1994. "Health insurance and job mobility: The effects of public policy on job-lock," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 86-102, October.
  3. Brigitte C. Madrian, 1993. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is There Evidence ofJob-Lock?," NBER Working Papers 4476, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
  5. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1983. "Fringe benefits and the cost of changing jobs," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 70-78, October.
  6. Kanika Kapur, 1998. "The Impact of health on job mobility: A measure of job lock," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 282-298, January.
  7. Rebecca M. Blank, 1994. "Social Protection versus Economic Flexibility: Is There a Trade-Off?," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blan94-1.
  8. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Robert G. Valletta, 1996. "The Effects of Employer-Provided Health Insurance on Worker Mobility," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 439-455, April.
  9. Alan C. Monheit & Philip F. Cooper, 1994. "Health insurance and job mobility: Theory and evidence," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 68-85, October.
  10. Heckman, James & Singer, Burton, 1984. "A Method for Minimizing the Impact of Distributional Assumptions in Econometric Models for Duration Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 271-320, March.
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