Health Insurance Provision and Labor Market Efficiency in the United States
Health Insurance has claimed a prominent place on the policy agenda in the United States. Critics argue that the status quo has lead to spiraling health care costs, an inequitable distribution of quality medical care, and that employer-provided health insurance has "locked" individuals into jobs, thereby interfering with the efficient matching of employers and employees. In contrast to the United States, Germany guarantees virtually all citizens health insurance. Insurance is portable, but the cost may change when an individual changes jobs, again leading to the potential for job-lock. This paper assesses the empirical magnitude of health insurance-related impediments to job mobility in the United States and Germany, The results show little evidence that health insurance provision interferes with job mobility in either the United States or Germany, thus suggesting that these employer-based systems for providing the health insurance portion of the social safety net do not alter this aspect of labor market efficiency.