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The Dependent Coverage Mandate Took a Bite Out of Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Fone, Zachary S.

    () (University of New Hampshire)

  • Friedson, Andrew I.

    () (University of Colorado Denver)

  • Lipton, Brandy

    () (San Diego State University)

  • Sabia, Joseph J.

    () (San Diego State University)

Abstract

The Affordable Care Act's Dependent Coverage Mandate (DCM) induced approximately two million young adults to join parental employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) plans. This study is the first to explore the impact of the DCM on criminal arrests, a potentially important externality. Using data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, we find that the DCM induced an 11 percent reduction in criminal incidents involving arrestees ages 19 to 25, driven by property crime declines. An examination of the underlying mechanisms suggests that declines in large out-of-pocket expenditures for health care, increased educational attainment, and increases in parent-adult child cohabitation may explain these crime declines. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the DCM generated approximately $3.1 billion in annual social benefits from crime reduction.

Suggested Citation

  • Fone, Zachary S. & Friedson, Andrew I. & Lipton, Brandy & Sabia, Joseph J., 2020. "The Dependent Coverage Mandate Took a Bite Out of Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 12968, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12968
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Affordable Care Act; Dependent Coverage Mandate; crime; arrests;

    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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