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Estimating the Relationship between Employer-Provided Health Insurance, Worker Mobility, and Wages

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  • Martha Harrison Stinson

    () (U.S. Census Bureau)

Abstract

Two separate literatures have sought to quantify the relationship between wages and job tenure and quit decisions and employer-provided health insurance. The fundamental difficulty in both cases is the presence of unobservable person and job characteristics that are correlated with both compensation outcomes and personal mobility. This paper seeks to bring these two strands of research together by estimating a joint model of wages, hazard of a job ending, and probability of holding employer-provided health insurance and allowing for correlated person and job heterogeneity across the three equations. Using data from the 1990 and 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) Panels linked to SSA administrative job histories, the model is estimable due to the presence of monthly wage, job tenure, and health insurance observations for a relatively large, nationally representative sample of people over the course of 2 1/2 and 4 years respectively. Multiple jobs per person and multiple observations per job allow the identification of the part of the variation in wages, tenure, and health insurance status due to unobservable person and job characteristics and the correlation between individual and job propensities for high wages, low mobility, and high probability of benefits. The explicit modeling of this correlation not only produces unbiased estimates of the tenure and health insurance effects, but also allows the comparison of hazard rates for high-wage jobs versus jobs with a high probability of providing health insurance. I find substantial levels of job-lock of 30%-60% and annual returns to seniority of 1.5%-2% after the first four years of a job. In addition, I find that increasing the job-specific probability of obtaining employer-provided health insurance from 60% to 73%, or increasing the job-specific hourly wage rate by $.80, are both associated with an equivalent 6% decrease in the hazard of the employer-worker match ending, although, on average, the dollar value of the wage benefit is higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Martha Harrison Stinson, 2002. "Estimating the Relationship between Employer-Provided Health Insurance, Worker Mobility, and Wages," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 B1-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpd:pd2002:b1-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee A. Lillard, 1999. "Job Turnover Heterogeneity and Person-Job-Specific Time-Series Wages," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 55-56, pages 183-210.
    2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(2), pages 251-334, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
    5. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 437-459.
    6. Kanika Kapur, 1998. "The impact of health on job mobility : a measure of job lock," Open Access publications 10197/297, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. 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.
    8. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-297, June.
    9. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    10. Donna B. Gilleskie & Byron F. Lutz, 1999. "The Impact of Employer-Provided Health Insurance on Dynamic Employment Transitions," NBER Working Papers 7307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Kanika Kapur, 1998. "The Impact of Health on Job Mobility: A Measure of Job Lock," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 51(2), pages 282-298, January.
    12. repec:adr:anecst:y:1999:i:55-56 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:adr:anecst:y:1999:i:55-56:p:07 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.

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