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Is There Job Lock? Evidence from the Pre-HIPAA Era

Mark C. Berger, Dan A. Black and Frank A. Scott
Southern Economic Journal
Vol. 70, No. 4 (Apr., 2004), pp. 953-976
DOI: 10.2307/4135282
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4135282
Page Count: 24
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Is There Job Lock? Evidence from the Pre-HIPAA Era
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Abstract

We estimate discrete time hazard models of employment duration and standard logarithmic wage equations using the 1987 and 1990 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine the phenomenon of job lock. We test for job lock using differences-in-differences approaches among those with and without employer-provided health insurance and family members with and without health problems. We find no statistically significant evidence of job lock on employment duration or wages using this approach. We do find some evidence of shorter employment spells for those with employer-provided health insurance and spouse-provided health insurance, and longer employment spells for those with employer-provided health insurance and large families. Others have interpreted these findings as evidence of job lock. However, the wage equation results using these measures are not consistent with job lock. Although anecdotal evidence makes it clear that some workers have been locked into less-than-optimal jobs because of the combination of health problems and employer-provided health insurance, our results do not suggest that this phenomenon is pervasive in the U.S. economy.

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