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Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Part-Time Employment: Early Evidence

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Abstract

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers with at least 50 full-time-equivalent employees to offer “affordable” health insurance to employees working 30 or more hours per week. If employers do not comply with the mandate, they may face substantial financial penalties. Employers can potentially circumvent the mandate by reducing weekly hours below the 30-hour threshold or by using other nonstandard employment arrangements (direct-hire temporaries, agency temporaries, small contractors, and independent contractors). We examine the effects of the ACA on short-hours, part-time employment. Using monthly CPS data, we estimate that the ACA resulted in an increase in low-hours, involuntary part-time employment of a half-million to a million workers in retail, accommodations, and food services, the sectors in which employers are most likely to reduce hours if they choose to circumvent the mandate, and also the sectors in which low-wage workers are most likely to be affected. Our empirical strategy uses as a control group Hawaii, which has had a more stringent employer health insurance mandate than that of the ACA for several decades. The findings are robust to placebo tests and alternative specifications.

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  • Marcus Dillender & Carolyn Heinrich & Susan Houseman, 2016. "Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Part-Time Employment: Early Evidence," Upjohn Working Papers 16-258, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:16-258
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    1. Jonathan T. Kolstad & Amanda E. Kowalski, 2012. "Mandate-Based Health Reform and the Labor Market:� Evidence from the Massachusetts Reform," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1855, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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    6. Thomas C. Buchmueller & John DiNardo & Robert G. Valletta, 2011. "The Effect of an Employer Health Insurance Mandate on Health Insurance Coverage and the Demand for Labor: Evidence from Hawaii," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 25-51, November.
    7. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
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    9. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-183, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heim, Bradley & Lurie, Ithai & Mullen, Kathleen J. & Simon, Kosali, 2021. "How Much Do Outside Options Matter? The Effect of Subsidized Health Insurance on Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit Receipt," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    2. William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 2019. "The Affordable Care Act and the Growth of Involuntary Part-Time Employment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 72(4), pages 955-980, August.
    3. Compton, Andrew, 2019. "A Search Theoretic Model of Part-Time Employment and Multiple Job Holdings," MPRA Paper 97003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Mulligan, Casey, "undated". "The Employer Penalty, Voluntary Compliance, and the Size Distribution of Firms: Evidence from a Survey of Small Businesses," Working Papers 07020, George Mason University, Mercatus Center.
    5. Mark Duggan & Gopi Shah Goda & Emilie Jackson, 2019. "The Effects of the Affordable Care Act on Health Insurance Coverage and Labor Market Outcomes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 72(2), pages 261-322, June.
    6. Sojung Lim, 2019. "Mothers’ Nonstandard Employment, Family Structure, and Children’s Health Insurance Coverage," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 148-164, June.
    7. Hanming Fang & Andrew J. Shephard, 2019. "Household Labor Search, Spousal Insurance, and Health Care Reform," NBER Working Papers 26350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Casey B. Mulligan, 2019. "The Employer Penalty, Voluntary Compliance, and the Size Distribution of Firms: Evidence from a Survey of Small Businesses," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 34, pages 139-171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Affordable Care Act; employer-sponsored health insurance; employer mandate; part-time employment; involuntary part-time employment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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