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Health insurance and precautionary saving: a structural analysis

  • Hsu, Minchung

Starr-McCluer (1996) documented an empirical finding that the US households covered by health insurance saved more than those without coverage, which is inconsistent with the standard consumption-saving theory. This study provides a structural analysis and suggests that institutional factors, in particular, a social insurance (safety net) system and an employment-based health insurance system, can account for this puzzling finding. A dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model is built that incorporates these two institutions with heterogeneous agents making decisions regarding saving, labor supply and health insurance endogenously when they are young. The model, in which agents save in a precautionary manner, can generate Starr-McCluer's empirical finding and it indicates that the empirical finding is not inconsistent with the standard theory of saving under uncertainty. Counterfactual experiments are performed to provide implications for empirical analyses and illustrate the danger of empirical work without a sound theoretical background.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/32975/1/MPRA_paper_32975.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 32975.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32975
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  1. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Martha Starr-McCluer, 1994. "Health insurance and precautionary saving," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Sagiri Kitao, 2009. "Labor Supply Elasticity and Social Security Reform," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2009-5, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2009.
  4. J. Gruber & A. Yelowitz, . "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1135-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  5. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Sagiri Kitao, 2010. "Social Security, Benefit Claiming and Labor Force Participation: A Quantitative General Equilibrium Approach," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2010-02, Center for Retirement Research, revised Mar 2010.
  6. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  7. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2007. "A quantitative theory of unsecured consumer credit with risk of default," Working Papers 07-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2006. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(4), pages 607-643, August.
  9. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Mich�le Tertilt, 2007. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 402-418, March.
  10. Guariglia, Alessandra & Rossi, Mariacristina, 2004. "Private medical insurance and saving: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 761-783, July.
  11. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2006. "Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles," NBER Working Papers 12554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea After All!," NBER Working Papers 12880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
  14. Imrohoruglu, Ayse, 1989. "Cost of Business Cycles with Indivisibilities and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1364-83, December.
  15. Karsten Jeske & Sagiri Kitao, 2007. "U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: can a regressive policy improve welfare?," Working Paper 2007-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  16. Edward R. Whitehouse, 2003. "The Value of Pension Entitlements: A Model of Nine OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 9, OECD Publishing.
  17. Palumbo, Michael G, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421, April.
  18. Orazio Attanasio & Sagiri Kitao & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Financing Medicare: A General Equilibrium Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 333-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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