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The Efficiency of a Group-Specific Mandated Benefit: Evidence From Health Insurance Benefits for Maternity

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  • Jonathan Gruber

Abstract

I consider the effects of "group-specific mandated benefits", such as mandated maternity leave, which raise the costs of employing a demographically identifiable group. The efficiency of these policies, relative to more broad-based financing of benefits expansions, will largely be a function of the valuation of the mandated benefit by the targeted group. Such valuation should be reflected in substantial shifting of the cost of the mandate to groupspecific wages; however, there may be barriers to the adjustment of relative wages which impede such shifting. I study several 1976 state mandates which stipulated that childbirth be covered comprehensively in health insurance plans, increasing the cost of insuring women of child-bearing age by as much as 5 % of their wages. I find substantial shifting of the costs of these mandates to the wages of the targeted group. Correspondingly, I find little effect on total labor input for the group which benefitted from these mandates; hours rise and employment falls, as may be expected from an increase in the fixed costs of employment. These results are confirmed by using a 1978 Federal mandate as a "reverse experiment".

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber, 1992. "The Efficiency of a Group-Specific Mandated Benefit: Evidence From Health Insurance Benefits for Maternity," NBER Working Papers 4157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4157
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gruber, J., 1992. "State Mandated Benefits and Employer Provided Health Insurance," Working papers 92-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Arleen Leibowitz, 1983. "Fringe Benefits in Employee Compensation," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Labor Cost, pages 371-394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:fth:harver:1520 is not listed on IDEAS
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    6. Jonathan Gruber & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "The Incidence of Mandated Employer-Provided Insurance: Lessons from Workers' Compensation Insurance," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 111-144, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Fullerton, Don, 1991. "Reconciling Recent Estimates of the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 302-308, March.
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    9. Feldstein, Martin S, 1973. "The Welfare Loss of Excess Health Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 251-280, Part I, M.
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    Cited by:

    1. Charles L. Baum, 2004. "The Effect of Government-Mandated Family Leave on Employer Family Leave Policies," Working Papers 200407, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
    2. Jonathan Gruber, 1998. "Health Insurance and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 6762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard V. Burkhauser & Joseph F. Quinn, 1997. "Implementing Pro-Work Policies for Older Americans in the Twenty-First Century," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 378, Boston College Department of Economics.
    4. Charles L. Baum, 2006. "The Effects Of Government‐Mandated Family Leave On Employer Family Leave Policies," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 432-445, July.
    5. Jonathan Gruber & James M. Poterba, 1993. "Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," NBER Working Papers 4435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Caroline Hoxby & M. Daniele Paserman, 1998. "Overidentification Tests with Grouped Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1993. "Health Insurance Provision and Labor Market Efficiency in the United States," NBER Working Papers 4388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joanna N. Lahey, 2012. "The efficiency of a group‐specific mandated benefit revisited: The effect of infertility mandates," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 63-92, December.
    9. Baum, Charles II, 2003. "The effect of state maternity leave legislation and the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act on employment and wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 573-596, October.
    10. Gruber, J., 1992. "State Mandated Benefits and Employer Provided Health Insurance," Working papers 92-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    11. Jonathan Gruber & Maria Owings, 1996. "Physician Financial Incentives and Cesarean Section Delivery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 99-123, Spring.
    12. Arístides Torche & Gert Wagner, 1997. "Previsión Social: Valoración Individual de un Beneficio Mandatado," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 34(103), pages 363-390.
    13. Henry J. Aaron & Barry P. Bosworth, 1994. "Economic Issues in Reform of Health Care Financing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1994 Micr), pages 249-299.
    14. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1994. "Health Insurance Provision and Labor Market Efficiency in the United States and Germany," NBER Chapters, in: Social Protection versus Economic Flexibility: Is There a Trade-Off?, pages 157-188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1996. "Health Insurance and Early Retirement: Evidence from the Availability of Continuation Coverage," NBER Chapters, in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 115-146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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