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Subsidy Targeting with Market Power

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Polyakova
  • Stephen P. Ryan

Abstract

In-kind public transfers are commonly targeted based on observable characteristics of potential recipients. This paper argues that when the subsidized good is provided by imperfectly-competitive firms, targeting can give rise to a “demographic externality,” creating unintended redistribution of surplus and distorting efficiency. We illustrate this mechanism empirically in the context of means-tested subsidies for privately-provided health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Using a structural model of supply and demand, we show that market power increases the welfare loss from subsidy targeting, vis-a-vis income-invariant subsidies, by 33 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Polyakova & Stephen P. Ryan, 2019. "Subsidy Targeting with Market Power," NBER Working Papers 26367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26367
    Note: HC HE IO PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. H C W L Williams, 1977. "On the formation of travel demand models and economic evaluation measures of user benefit," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 9(3), pages 285-344, March.
    2. Ethan M.J. Lieber & Lee M. Lockwood, 2013. "Costs and Benefits of In-Kind Transfers: The Case of Medicaid Home Care Benefits," Working Papers wp294, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Marika Cabral & Michael Geruso & Neale Mahoney, 2018. "Do Larger Health Insurance Subsidies Benefit Patients or Producers? Evidence from Medicare Advantage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(8), pages 2048-2087, August.
    4. repec:eee:jhecon:v:65:y:2019:i:c:p:63-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Michael J. Dickstein & Mark Duggan & Joe Orsini & Pietro Tebaldi, 2015. "The Impact of Market Size and Composition on Health Insurance Premiums: Evidence from the First Year of the Affordable Care Act," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 120-125, May.
    6. repec:aea:aecrev:v:109:y:2019:i:4:p:1461-85 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:aea:aejapp:v:11:y:2019:i:2:p:1-36 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Ethan M. J. Lieber & Lee M. Lockwood, 2019. "Targeting with In-Kind Transfers: Evidence from Medicaid Home Care," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(4), pages 1461-1485, April.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • L0 - Industrial Organization - - General

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