Health Insurance and the Labor Market

Jonathan Gruber

NBER Working Paper No. 6762
Issued in October 1998
NBER Program(s):Health Care

A distinctive feature of the health insurance market in the U.S. is the restriction of group insurance availability to the workplace. This has a number of important implications for the functioning of the labor market, through mobility from job-to-job or in and out of the labor force, wage determination, and hiring decisions. This paper reviews the large literature that has emerged in recent years to assess the impact of health insurance on the labor market. I begin with an overview of the institutional details relevant to assessing the interaction of health insurance and the labor market. I then present a theoretical overview of the effects of health insurance on mobility and wage/employment determination. I critically review the empirical literature on these topics, focusing in particular on the methodological issues that have been raised, and highlighting the unanswered questions which can be the focus of future work in this area.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6762


  • (1994): 86-102.
  • Published as "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings", Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 107, no. 6, part 1 (December 1999): 1249-1274. Published as "Health Insurance and Job Mobility: The Effects of Public Policy on Job-Lock", Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 48, no. 1

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