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The Reallocation of Compensation in Response to Health Insurance Premium Increases


  • Dana P. Goldman
  • Neeraj Sood
  • Arleen Leibowitz


This paper examines how compensation packages change when health insurance premiums rise. We use data on employee choices within a single large firm with a flexible benefits plan; an increasingly common arrangement among medium and large firms. In these companies, employees explicitly choose how to allocate compensation between cash and various benefits such as retirement, medical insurance, life insurance, and dental benefits. We find that a $1 increase in the price of health insurance leads to 52-cent increase in expenditures on health insurance. Approximately 2/3 of this increase is financed through reduced wages and 1/3 through other benefits

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  • Dana P. Goldman & Neeraj Sood & Arleen Leibowitz, 2003. "The Reallocation of Compensation in Response to Health Insurance Premium Increases," NBER Working Papers 9540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9540
    Note: HE LE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Woodbury, Stephen A, 1983. "Substitution between Wage and Nonwage Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 166-182, March.
    2. Robert S. Smith & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1983. "Estimating Wage-Fringe Trade-Offs: Some Data Problems," NBER Chapters,in: The Measurement of Labor Cost, pages 347-370 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Helen Levy, 1998. "Who Pays for Health Insurance? Employee Contributions to Health Insurance Premiums," Working Papers 777, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-183, May.
    5. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    6. Gerald S. Goldstein & Mark V. Pauly, 1976. "Group Health Insurance as a Local Public Good," NBER Chapters,in: The Role of Health Insurance in the Health Services Sector, pages 73-114 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. David M. Cutler & Sarah J. Reber, 1998. "Paying for Health Insurance: The Trade-Off between Competition and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 433-466.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stéphanie Lluis & Jean Abraham, 2013. "The Wage–Health Insurance Trade-off and Worker Selection: Evidence From the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey 1997 to 2006," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 541-581, April.
    2. Patricia Crifo & Marc-Arthur Diaye, 2011. "The Composition of Compensation Policy: From Cash to Fringe Benefits," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 101-102, pages 307-326.
    3. Vikström, Johan, 2009. "The effect of employer incentives in social insurance on individual wages," Working Paper Series 2009:13, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

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    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education

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