February 26, 2009
By Paul Winfree
How the health insurance system influences the likelihood of
changing jobs and becoming self-employed
This paper investigates the extent to which employer-sponsored
health insurance influenced job mobility between 1995 and 2007.
This time period is important given the recent increase in the cost
of private health insurance and the enactment of the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996. In addition,
changes in the tax treatment of health insurance for the
self-employed occurred throughout the period. Using data from the
1996-2007 March Supplements of the Current Population Survey, I
find that for married women with employer-sponsored insurance,
having an alternative source of coverage increases their likelihood
of becoming self-employed by 75 percent, while the number of
children they have reduces their likelihood of switching jobs by 7
percent. Overall, I find that having an alternative source of
insurance increases the likelihood of switching jobs by 9 percent.
Finally, I do not find evidence to suggest that job-lock affects
married men. (JEL J20, J38, J60)
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