Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 20–38 | Cite as

Health Insurance and Worker Retention in the Construction Industry

  • Jaewhan KimEmail author
  • Peter Philips


Using samples of blue collar construction workers from the 1996 and 2001 SIPP, a shared frailty survival model shows that controlling for wages, occupational and demographic factors, both portable union and nonportable nonunion employer-provided health insurance increase the probability of worker retention within the construction industry. Portable union health insurance increases the probability of worker-industry retention by 30 to 41% compared to 13 to 18% for nonunion employer-provided insurance. Our research suggests that by encouraging industry retention, health insurance preserves and encourages the accumulation of human capital in a turbulent industry with high firm-and-industry-labor turnover and also may reduce worker disabilities by immediately treating medical problems. Furthermore, in the union sector of construction where health insurance is portable across signatory contractors, the problem of job-lock inefficiencies is reduced.


Health insurance Job-lock Construction industry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Public Health, Department of Family and Preventive MedicineUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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