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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 of labor supply and savings that incorporates health and health shocks. Our model features endogenous wage formation via human capital accumulation, employer sponsored health insurance, and meanstested social insurance. We find a substantial part of the impact of health shocks on earnings arises via reduced human capital accumulation. Health shocks account for 15% of lifetime earnings inequality for U.S. males, with two-thirds of this due to behavioral responses. In particular, it is optimal for low-skill workers – who often lack employer sponsored insurance – to curtail labor supply to maintain eligibility for means-tested transfers that protect them from high health care costs. This causes low-skill workers to invest less in human capital. Provision of public health insurance can alleviate this problem and enhance labor supply and human capital accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Keane & Elena Capatina & Shiko Maruyama, 2020. "Health Shocks and the Evolution of Earnings over the Life-Cycle," Discussion Papers 2018-14b, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2018-14b
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    File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2018-14b.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel Aaronson & Eric French, 2004. "The Effect of Part-Time Work on Wages: Evidence from the Social Security Rules," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 329-352, April.
    2. Roozbeh Hosseini & Kai Zhao & Karen Kopecky, 2018. "How Important Is Health Inequality for Lifetime Earnings Inequality?," 2018 Meeting Papers 1093, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Benitez-Silva, Hugo & Buchinsky, Moshe & Chan, Hiu Man & Rust, John & Sheidvasser, Sofia, 1999. "An empirical analysis of the social security disability application, appeal, and award process," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 147-178, June.
    4. Jérôme Adda & James Banks & Hans-Martin von Gaudecker, 2009. "The Impact of Income Shocks on Health: Evidence from Cohort Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1361-1399, December.
    5. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1989. "Dynamic Labour Force Participation of Married Women and Endogenous Work Experience," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(3), pages 375-390.
    6. Peter Adams & Michael D. Hurd & Daniel L. McFadden & Angela Merrill & Tiago Ribeiro, 2004. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? Tests for Direct Causal Paths between Health and Socioeconomic Status," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 415-526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Susumu Imai & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 601-641, May.
    8. Hamish Low & Luigi Pistaferri, 2015. "Disability Insurance and the Dynamics of the Incentive Insurance Trade-Off," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 2986-3029, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jolivet, Grégory & Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 2020. "A Structural Analysis of Mental Health and Labor Market Trajectories," IZA Discussion Papers 13518, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Health Shocks; Human Capital; Income Risk; Precautionary Saving; Earnings Inequality; Health Insurance; Welfare;

    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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