The Effects of Mandating Benefits Packages

Olivia S. Mitchell

NBER Working Paper No. 3260
Issued in February 1990
NBER Program(s):   LS

This paper identifies and, where possible, quantifies potential labor market consequences of government mandating of employee benefits. The author argues that mandating benefits could increase benefit coverage and generosity for numerous workers and their families. However, even when mandating benefits does improve benefit provision, there will be offsetting effects including wage and other benefit cuts, reduced work hours, reduced employment, and possibly output reductions in covered sectors. Employer bias against "expensive to insure" workers may also result, producing labor market sorting and segmentation. In addition, many workers currently without benefit coverage are employees of small firms, women, pan-time and minimum wage workers. Frequently, mandated benefit proposals exclude or reduce coverage for these workers to alleviate the financial burden on small firms. As a result, many uninsured people will not be helped by the type of mandated employee benefit program currently under review. A separate approach would probably be needed to meet the needs of those not covered by mandated benefit programs.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3260

Published: Mitchell, Olivia S. "The Effects of Mandating Benefits Packages." Re-search in Labor Economics, edited by L. Bassi and D. Crawford, pp. 297-320. JAI Press, 1991.

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