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Effects of health insurance on labour supply: a systematic review

Nga Le (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands) (Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, United Nations University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Wim Groot (Top Institute for Evidence Based Education Research (TIER), Maastricht, The Netherlands) (Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Sonila M. Tomini (Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands) (Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, United Nations University, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Florian Tomini (Department of Primary Care and Population Health, Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London Medical School, London, UK)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 6 February 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic review of empirical evidence on the labour market effects of health insurance from the supply side.

Design/methodology/approach

The study covers the largest peer-reviewed and working paper databases for labour economics and health studies. These include Web of Science, Google Scholar, Pubmed and the most popular economics working paper sources such as NBER, ECONSTOR, IDEAS, IZA, SSRN, World Bank Working Paper Series. The authors follow the PRISMA 2009 protocol for systematic reviews.

Findings

The collection includes 63 studies. The outcomes of interest are the number of hours worked, the probability of employment, self-employment and the level of economic formalisation. The authors find that the current literature is vastly concentrated on the USA. Spousal coverage in the USA is associated with reduced labour supply of secondary earners. The effect of Medicaid in the USA on the labour supply of its recipients is ambiguous. The employment-coverage link is an important determinant of the labour supply of people with health problems and self-employment decisions. Universal coverage may create either an incentive or a disincentive to work depending on the design of the system. Finally, evidence on the relationship between health insurance and the level of economic formalisation in developing countries is fragmented and limited.

Practical implications

This study reviews the existing literature on the labour market effects of health insurance from the supply side. The authors find a large knowledge gap in emerging economies where health coverage is expanding. The authors also highlight important literature gaps that need to be filled in different themes of the topic.

Originality/value

This is the first systematic review on the topic which is becoming increasingly relevant for policy makers in developing countries where health coverage is expanding.

Keywords

Citation

Le, N., Groot, W., Tomini, S.M. and Tomini, F. (2019), "Effects of health insurance on labour supply: a systematic review", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 717-767. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-02-2018-0038

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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