The Dependent Coverage Mandate Took a Bite Out of Crime

70 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2020

See all articles by Zach Fone

Zach Fone

University of New Hampshire - Department of Economics

Andrew Friedson

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics

Brandy J. Lipton

San Diego State University

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics

Abstract

The Affordable Care Act's Dependent Coverage Mandate (DCM) induced approximately two million young adults to join parental employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) plans. This study is the first to explore the impact of the DCM on criminal arrests, a potentially important externality. Using data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System, we find that the DCM induced an 11 percent reduction in criminal incidents involving arrestees ages 19 to 25, driven by property crime declines. An examination of the underlying mechanisms suggests that declines in large out-of-pocket expenditures for health care, increased educational attainment, and increases in parent-adult child cohabitation may explain these crime declines. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the DCM generated approximately $3.1 billion in annual social benefits from crime reduction.

Keywords: Affordable Care Act, Dependent Coverage Mandate, crime, arrests

JEL Classification: I13, I18, K14

Suggested Citation

Fone, Zachary and Friedson, Andrew and Lipton, Brandy J. and Sabia, Joseph, The Dependent Coverage Mandate Took a Bite Out of Crime. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12968, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3542637

Zachary Fone (Contact Author)

University of New Hampshire - Department of Economics ( email )

10 Garrison Ave
Durham, NH 03824
United States

Andrew Friedson

University of Colorado at Denver - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 181
P.O. Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States

Brandy J. Lipton

San Diego State University ( email )

San Diego, CA 92182-0763
United States

Joseph Sabia

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

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