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A Workers' Lobby to Provide Portable Benefits


  • Joni Hersch


How can workers have a voice in the face of declining unionization and rising nontraditional career paths? To demonstrate how a new labor market institution can emerge, I develop a model of fundraising by a workers' organization in which the founder must allocate resources between the provision of public goods, which attracts foundation grants, and the provision of private goods, which attracts individual members. My case study for analyzing the performance of the model is Working Today, a new organization founded with the objectives of representing all workers and shifting employment rights from the current employer-based regime to one that assigns rights to individuals. Working Today has evolved from an organization funded by foundation grants that attempted to represent all workers, to primarily serving as an intermediary to provide group health insurance for independent workers. In order to examine the market for health insurance supplied by an organization such as Working Today, I provide statistics on the insurance coverage status and demographic characteristics of non-standard workers and traditional employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Joni Hersch, 2003. "A Workers' Lobby to Provide Portable Benefits," NBER Working Papers 9591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9591
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jonathan Gruber & James Poterba, 1994. "Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 701-733.
    2. Craig William Perry & Harvey S. Rosen, 2001. "The Self-Employed are Less Likely to Have Health Insurance Than Wage Earners. So What?," NBER Working Papers 8316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Craig W. Perry & Harvey S. Rosen, 2001. "The Self-Employed Are Less Likely To Have Health Insurance Than Wage Earners: So What?," Working Papers 129, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
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    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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