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Health Shocks and the Evolution of Earnings over the Life-Cycle

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Keane

    (School of Economics, UNSW Business School, UNSW Sydney)

  • Elena Capatina

    (Research School of Economics, Australian National University)

  • Shiko Maruyama

    (Economics Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney)

Abstract

We study the contribution of health shocks to earnings inequality and uncertainty in labor market outcomes. We calibrate a life-cycle model with idiosyncratic health, earnings, employment and survival risk, where individuals make labor supply and savings decisions, adding two novel features. First, we model health as a complex multidimensional concept. We differentiate between functional health and latent health risk, and between temporary/persistent and predictable/unpredictable health shocks. Second, we model interactions between health and human capital accumulation. We find that, in an environment with both costly health shocks and means-tested transfers, low-skill workers find it optimal to reduce their labor supply in order to maintain eligibility for transfers that protect them from potentially high health care costs. Thus, means-tested transfers generate a moral hazard effect that causes agents (especially those with low productivity) to invest less in human capital. Provision of public insurance can alleviate this problem and enhance labor supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Keane & Elena Capatina & Shiko Maruyama, 2019. "Health Shocks and the Evolution of Earnings over the Life-Cycle," Discussion Papers 2018-14a, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2018-14a
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory Jolivet & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2020. "A Structural Analysis of Mental Health and Labor Market Trajectories," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 20/726, School of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    2. FUKAI Taiyo & ICHIMURA Hidehiko & KITAO Sagiri & MIKOSHIBA Minamo, 2021. "Medical Expenditures over the Life Cycle: Persistent Risks and Insurance," Discussion papers 21073, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Health Shocks; Human Capital; Income Risk; Precautionary Saving; Earnings Inequality; Health Insurance; Welfare;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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