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The Determinants of Rising Inequality in Health Insurance and Wages: An Equilibrium Model of Workers' Compensation and Health Care Policies

  • Rong Hai

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

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I develop and structurally estimate a non-stationary overlapping generations equilibrium model of employment and workers' health insurance and wage compensation, to investigate the determinants of rising inequality in health insurance and wages in the U.S. over the last 30 years. I find that skill-biased technological change and the rising cost of medical care services are the two most important determinants, while the impact of Medicaid eligibility expansion is quantitatively small. I conduct counterfactual policy experiments to analyze key features of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including employer mandates and further Medicaid eligibility expansion. I find that (i) an employer mandate reduces both wage and health insurance coverage inequality, but also lowers the employment rate of less educated individuals; and (ii) further Medicaid eligibility expansion increases employment rate of less educated individuals, reduces health insurance coverage disparity, but also causes larger wage inequality.

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File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/sites/economics.sas.upenn.edu/files/13-019_0.pdf
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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 13-019.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: 16 Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:13-019
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  1. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  2. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2007. "Does Medicare Save Lives?," NBER Working Papers 13668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2013. "Quantitative Analysis of Health Insurance Reform: Separating Regulation from Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 383-404, July.
  4. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Serdar Ozkan, 2009. "Taxation of human capital and wage inequality: a cross-country analysis," IFS Working Papers W09/23, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Donghoon Lee & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2004. "Intersectoral Labor Mobility and the Growth of the Service Sector," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-036, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. Wilbert van der Klaauw & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2005. "Social Security and the Retirement and Savings Behavior of Low Income Households," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  7. Brooks Pierce, 2001. "Compensation Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1493-1525.
  8. Greg Kaplan, 2012. "Inequality and the life cycle," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 471-525, November.
  9. Donghoon Lee & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2006. "Accounting for Wage and Employment Changes in the U.S. from 1968-2000: A Dynamic Model of Labor Market Equilibrium," 2006 Meeting Papers 172, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Dey, M. S. & Flinn, C. J., 2000. "An Equilibrium Model of Health Insurance Provision and Wage Determination," Working Papers 00-18, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  11. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2007. "Estimating Risk Preferences from Deductible Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 745-788, June.
  13. David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2008. "The Role Of Retiree Health Insurance In The Employment Behavior Of Older Men," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 475-514, 05.
  14. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical care, and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 5052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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