NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Wedges, Wages, and Productivity under the Affordable Care Act

Casey B. Mulligan, Trevor S. Gallen

NBER Working Paper No. 19771
Issued in December 2013
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS   PE

Our paper documents the large labor market wedges created by taxes, subsidies, and regulations included in the Affordable Care Act. The law changes terms of trade in both goods and factor markets for firms offering health insurance coverage. We use a multi-sector (intra-national) trade model to predict and quantify consequences of the Affordable Care Act for the patterns of output, labor usage, and employee compensation. We find that the law will significantly redistribute from high-wage workers to low-wage workers and to non-workers, reduce total factor productivity about one percent, reduce per-capita labor hours about three percent (especially among low-skill workers), reduce output per capita about two percent, and reduce employment less for sectors that ultimately pay employer penalties.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19771

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