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Healthy to Work: The Impact of Free Public Healthcare on Health Status and Labor Supply in Jamaica


  • Diether Beuermann
  • Camilo Pecha


This study examines whether Jamaica's free public healthcare policy affected health status and labor supply of adult individuals. It compares outcomes of adults without health insurance versus their insured counterparts, before and after policy implementation. The study finds that the policy reduced both the likelihood of suffering illnesses with associated lost work days and the number of lost days due to illnesses by 28.6 percent and 34 percent, respectively. Consistent with the absence of "employment lock", no effects are found on employment at the extensive margin. However, consistent with a reduced number of days lost due to illnesses, there is a positive effect of 2.15 additional weekly labor hours. This is primarily a labor supply effect as the study shows that both reported and imputed hourly wages decreased by 0.15 and 0.06 log-points respectively. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the policy added a yearly average of US$PPP 26.6 million worth of net real production to the economy during the period 2008-12.

Suggested Citation

  • Diether Beuermann & Camilo Pecha, 2016. "Healthy to Work: The Impact of Free Public Healthcare on Health Status and Labor Supply in Jamaica," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7970, Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:7970

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    Cited by:

    1. Doi, Yoko & McKenzie, David & Zia, Bilal, 2014. "Who you train matters: Identifying combined effects of financial education on migrant households," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 39-55.
    2. Gordon H. Hanson, 2007. "Emigration, Labor Supply, and Earnings in Mexico," NBER Chapters,in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 289-328 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Shaun A. Golding & Katherine J. Curtis, 2013. "Migration and rural development: resettlement, remittances and amenities," Chapters,in: Handbook of Rural Development, chapter 6, pages i-ii Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Erika Ruiz Sandoval, 2006. "Latinoamericanos con Destino a Europa: MigraciĆ³n, Remesas y Codesarrollo como Temas Emergentes en la RelaciĆ³n UE-AL," Policy Papers del Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales 06-02, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales.

    More about this item


    Health Policy; Health Insurance; Labor supply; Health Insurance Coverage; health Care Services; Public Health System; Healthcare Access; Labor Market Outcomes; health policy; health insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • O54 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Latin America; Caribbean
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health


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