The Labor-Supply Effects of Universal Health Coverage: What Can We Learn from Individuals with Spousal Coverage?

Posted: 21 Oct 1999

See all articles by Alison J. Wellington

Alison J. Wellington

College of Wooster - Department of Economics

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

We examine the labor-supply implications of universal health coverage by studying individuals who receive insurance through their spouses' employers. We find that spousal coverage has the largest impact on the labor-supply behavior of wives. Wives with spousal coverage have participation rates that are 19.5 percentage points lower and work on average 7.1 to 14.8 percent fewer hours annually than otherwise similar wives. Husbands with spousal coverage have participation rates that are 4.1 to 9.1 percentage points lower and supply less than 3.6 percent fewer hours. These estimates suggest that universal health coverage would reduce the labor supply of the U.S. population by approximately 6.2 percent annually.

JEL Classification: J3, J2, I1

Suggested Citation

Wellington, Alison J. and Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., The Labor-Supply Effects of Universal Health Coverage: What Can We Learn from Individuals with Spousal Coverage?. Research in Labor Economics, Vol. 19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=168831

Alison J. Wellington (Contact Author)

College of Wooster - Department of Economics ( email )

Wooster, OH 44691
United States
330-263-2407 (Phone)
330-263-2614 (Fax)

Deborah A. Cobb-Clark

School of Economics, University of Sydney ( email )

606 Social Sciences Bldg. (A02)
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia
61435061387 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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