Employment-Based Health Insurance and Pension Benefits: Trends and Inequalities in Accessibility and Participation, 1987-2001


  • Peter Brady
  • Emily Y. Lin


This paper documents changing patterns in employment-based health insurance and pension benefits among private-sector wage and salary workers between 1987 and 2001 and examines the trends by workforce characteristics. The results show that benefit differentials across educational groups increased in terms of both accessibility and participation rates during this period. The differential in pension accessibility and health insurance coverage rose primarily prior to 1993, whereas the differential in pension participation expanded consistently throughout the period. Using decomposition methods, we evaluate the importance of shifts in the relative employment distribution and changes in unobserved differences in explaining these trends.