The Welfare Implications of Health Capital Investment
Sara B. Holland
University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business
October 4, 2010
I present a model of the health capital investment decision of a firm using a moral hazard framework. Health capital investment increases the probability that a worker is present and productive. The firm cannot verify a worker's health capital investment decision. When a firm invests in health capital, the investment is verifiable because the firm contracts with the insurer. I derive the optimal contract for when the worker and for when the firm invests in health capital. When the firm invests in health capital, the level of investment is higher and wages are less volatile. In my model, firms invest more than workers because of a production externality and because it is less costly to invest in health capital than to compensate the worker for bearing the risk of an uncertain labor realization. This result improves welfare, contrary to the benchmark that workers consume more health care than is efficient ex post when firms provide health insurance. Unlike the benchmark model of a worker and insurer, my model includes a profit maximizing firm, includes an endogenous probability of getting sick, and allows the insurer to set premiums by anticipating the health care investment level of the insured.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Date posted: October 23, 2010
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