Public Health Insurance and the Labor Market: Evidence from China's Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance

33 Pages Posted: 10 May 2019 Last revised: 1 Sep 2020

See all articles by Wei Si

Wei Si

School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University

Date Written: May 7, 2019

Abstract

This paper provides empirical evidence on the labor market effects of public health insurance using evidence from China. In 2007, China launched a national public health insurance program, Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (URBMI), targeting residents in urban areas who were not insured by employment-based health insurance. Using panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, I identify the impacts of the program using its staggered implementation across cities. I find that URBMI did not have a significant average causal effect on labor force participation. However, it increased employment mobility, as evidenced by a decrease in long-term employment while expanding fixed-term contract jobs and self-employment. After the program was implemented, job lock declined, and job flexibility increased, especially among women, the less educated, and individuals with good health status. The results also suggest increased employment for unhealthy workers, indicating a direct health improvement effect.

Keywords: Public health insurance, Labor market, Job mobility, Informality, Urban China

JEL Classification: I13, I38, J21, J62

Suggested Citation

Si, Wei, Public Health Insurance and the Labor Market: Evidence from China's Urban Resident Basic Medical Insurance (May 7, 2019). ShanghaiTech SEM Working Paper No. 2019-003, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3385987 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3385987

Wei Si (Contact Author)

School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University ( email )

393 Middle Huaxia Road, Pudong
Shanghai, 201210
China

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