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Health insurance and precautionary saving: a structural analysis

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  • Hsu, Minchung

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hsu, Minchung, 2011. "Health insurance and precautionary saving: a structural analysis," MPRA Paper 32975, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32975
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1996. "Health Insurance and Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 285-295, March.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    3. 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.
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    5. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2007. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 402-418, March.
    6. 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 360-399, April.
    7. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    8. 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.
    9. Jeske, Karsten & Kitao, Sagiri, 2009. "U.S. tax policy and health insurance demand: Can a regressive policy improve welfare?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 210-221, March.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Juan Carlos Conesa & Sagiri Kitao & Dirk Krueger, 2009. "Taxing Capital? Not a Bad Idea after All!," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 25-48, March.
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    17. 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.
    18. Edward Whitehouse, 2003. "The Value of Pension Entitlements: A Model of Nine OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 9, OECD Publishing.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. One more perversion of employer-based health insurance
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-09-22 19:41:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Eric French & Hans-Martin von Gaudecker & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "The Effect of the Affordable Care Act on the Labor Supply, Savings, and Social Security of Older Americans," Working Papers wp354, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    2. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2016. "Cross-Subsidization in Employer-Based Health Insurance and the Effects of Tax Subsidy Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 69(3), pages 583-612, September.
    3. Pashchenko, Svetlana & Porapakkarm, Ponpoje, 2015. "Welfare costs of reclassification risk in the health insurance market," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 21-44.
    4. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje (Poe) Porapakkarm & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2017. "The Lifetime Costs of Bad Health," 2017 Meeting Papers 533, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Kitao, Sagiri, 2014. "A life-cycle model of unemployment and disability insurance," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 1-18.
    6. Taiyo Fukai & Hidehiko Ichimura & Kyogo Kanazawa, 2018. "Quantifying Health Shocks Over the Life Cycle," Papers 1801.08746, arXiv.org.
    7. repec:wly:iecrev:v:58:y:2017:i:4:p:1117-1154 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2017. "Work Incentives Of Medicaid Beneficiaries And The Role Of Asset Testing," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58(4), pages 1117-1154, November.
    9. Ponpoje (Poe) Porapakkarm & Svetlana Pashchenko, 2013. "Labor Supply Incentives of Medicaid," 2013 Meeting Papers 1082, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Hsu, Minchung & Huang, Xianguo & Yupho, Somrasri, 2015. "The development of universal health insurance coverage in Thailand: Challenges of population aging and informal economy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 227-236.
    11. FUKAI Taiyo & ICHIMURA Hidehiko & KANAZAWA Kyogo, 2018. "Quantifying Health Shocks over the Life Cycle," Discussion papers 18014, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    12. repec:eee:dyncon:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:126-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Ferreira, Pedro Cavalcanti & Gomes, Diego B.P., 2017. "Health care reform or more affordable health care?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 126-153.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Precautionary Savings; Social Insurance; Employment-based Health Insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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