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Wedges, Wages, and Productivity under the Affordable Care Act

  • Casey B. Mulligan
  • Trevor S. Gallen

Our paper documents the large labor market wedges created by taxes, subsidies, and regulations included in the Affordable Care Act. The law changes terms of trade in both goods and factor markets for firms offering health insurance coverage. We use a multi-sector (intra-national) trade model to predict and quantify consequences of the Affordable Care Act for the patterns of output, labor usage, and employee compensation. We find that the law will significantly redistribute from high-wage workers to low-wage workers and to non-workers, reduce total factor productivity about one percent, reduce per-capita labor hours about three percent (especially among low-skill workers), reduce output per capita about two percent, and reduce employment less for sectors that ultimately pay employer penalties.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19771.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19771
Note: EFG LS PE
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  1. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215.
  3. Richard V. Burkhauser & Sean Lyons & Kosali I. Simon, 2011. "The Importance of the Meaning and Measurement of "Affordable" in the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 17279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Unel, Bulent, 2010. "Analyzing skilled and unskilled labor efficiencies in the US," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 957-967, December.
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