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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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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. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  2. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," JCPR Working Papers 42, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," Discussion Papers 04-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. Selo Imrohoroglu, 2011. "Social Security, Benefit Claiming, and Labor Force Participation: A Quantitative General Equilibrium Approach," 2011 Meeting Papers 215, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. John Karl Scholz & Ananth Seshadri & Surachai Khitatrakun, 2004. "Are Americans Saving "Optimally" for Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 10260, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2005. "Differential mortality, uncertain medical expenses, and the saving of elderly singles," Working Paper Series WP-05-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Kitao, Sagiri & Krueger, Dirk, 2006. "Taxing capital? Not a bad idea after all!," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/21, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  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. Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1996. "Health Insurance and Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 285-95, March.
  18. 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.
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