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Author: Yelowitz, Aaron
Working Paper: Medicaid and Work Decisions of Married Women (PDF) ; July 2003

There is relatively little evidence on the effect of health insurance on married women's labor supply in the United States. The identification strategies of the studies that exist tend to take the husband's characteristics as exogenous. This is potentially problematic if husbands and wives make joint labor supply and job choice decisions. The aim of this study is to fill this gap in the literature by using an arguably credible source of legislative variation: expansions in the Medicaid program since the mid-1980s. The study uses data from the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation, spanning the years 1987 to 2000. Preliminary evidence suggests the results on married women’s responses is mixed: some specifications (that control for individual heterogeneity) show significant, anticipated responses to the Medicaid expansions, while other specifications do not.