Leadership Investigate

The Labor Market Impact Of Employer Health Benefit Mandates: Evidence From San Francisco's Health Care Security Ordinance

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Executive Summary

A key issue surrounding employer benefit mandates is the incidence on workers through wages and employment. In this paper, the authors address this question using a pay-or-play policy implemented in San Francisco in 2008 that requires employers to either provide health benefits or contribute to a public option health plan. They estimate the impact on employment and earnings for the private sector overall, as well as for high impact sectors: retail and accommodation and food services. They develop a novel approach for individual case studies by combining both spatial discontinuity in policies and permutation-type inference using other MSAs.

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