The Macroeconomic Consequences of Financing Health Insurance
Employer-financed health insurance systems, like that used in the United States, distort firms' labor demand and adversely affect the economy. Since such costs vary with employment rather than hours worked, firms have an incentive to increase output by increasing worker hours rather than employment. Given that the returns to employment exceed the returns to hours worked, this results in lower levels of employment and output. In this paper we construct a heterogeneous agent general equilibrium model where individuals differ with respect to their productivity and employment opportunities. Calibrating the model to the U.S. economy, we generate steady state results for several alternative models for financing health insurance: one in which health insurance is financed primarily through employer contributions that vary with employment; a second where insurance is funded through a non-distortionary, lump-sum tax; and a third where insurance is funded by a payroll tax. We measure the effects of each of the alternatives on output, employment, hours worked and inequality.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2008|
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- David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2001.
"Retiree Health Insurance and the Labor Force Behavior of Older Men in the 1990s,"
The Review of Economics and Statistics,
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- Janet Currie & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1998. "Health, Health Insurance and the Labor Market," JCPR Working Papers 27, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
- Terry J. Fitzgerald, 1996. "Reducing working hours," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q IV, pages 13-22.
- Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Growth Effects of Shifting from a Graduated-rate Tax System to a Flat Tax," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 194-213, April.
- Thomas C. Buchmueller & Robert G. Valletta, 1999. "The Effect of Health Insurance on Married Female Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 42-70.
- Thomas C. Buchmueller & Robert G. Valletta, 1996. "The effect of health insurance on married female labor supply," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
- Alessandra Del Boca & Paola Rota, 1998. "How Much Does Hiring and Firing Cost? Survey Evidence from a Sample of Italian Firms," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 12(3), pages 427-449, 09.
- Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538-538. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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