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The Political Economy of State Provided Health Insurance in the Progressive Era: Evidence from California

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  • Dora L. Costa

Abstract

I investigate why the United States did not adopt European style health insurance in the 1910s by examining voting determinants on the 1918 referendum on state-provided health insurance in California. I find that although the persuasiveness of interest groups, especially doctors, was an important determinant of the 1918 vote, interest groups alone could not explain the resounding defeat of state-provided health insurance. Voters, I find, were unwilling to pass a costly measure with an unpredictable outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Dora L. Costa, 1995. "The Political Economy of State Provided Health Insurance in the Progressive Era: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 5328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5328 Note: DAE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sam Peltzman, 1992. "Voters as Fiscal Conservatives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 327-361.
    2. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-131, April.
    3. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1977:67:4:374-378_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. John G. Matsusaka, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-571.
    6. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1979. "Bureaucrats Versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-587.
    7. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
    8. Poole, Keith T & Rosenthal, Howard, 1993. "The Enduring Nineteenth-Century Battle for Economic Regulation: The Interstate Commerce Act Revisited," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 837-860, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "The U.S. health care system and labor markets," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 50(Jun), pages 137-163.
    2. Dinan, John & Heckelman, Jac C., 2005. "The anti-tobacco movement in the Progressive Era: A case study of direct democracy in Oregon," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 529-546, October.
    3. Emery, J.C. Herbert, 2010. ""Un-American" or unnecessary? America's rejection of compulsory government health insurance in the Progressive Era," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 68-81, January.
    4. J.C. Herbert Emery, "undated". "America’s Rejection of Compulsory Government Health Insurance in the Progressive Era and its Legacy for National Insurance Today," Working Papers 2008-23, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 01 Apr 2008.
    5. Gottlieb, Daniel, 2007. "Asymmetric information in late 19th century cooperative insurance societies," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 270-292, April.
    6. Dostie, Benoit & Dupré, Ruth, 2012. "“The people's will”: Canadians and the 1898 referendum on alcohol prohibition," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 498-515.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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