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The Economics of Social Insurance and Employee Benefits

The Economics of Social Insurance and Employee Benefits

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The Economics of Social Insurance and Employee Benefits focuses on non-wage benefits paid to workers in the United States, covering both government-mandated and voluntarily provided benefits. The author argues that benefits affect workplace productivity,and concentrates on the economic thinking behind how to design non-wage benefits in order to achieve competitive advantage. Part I briefly introduces these programs and discusses some of the insurance and economic concepts that are useful both for evaluating current programs and in analyzing what changes might mean for future costs and benefits. Part II deals with mandated social insurance programs, while Part III discusses benefits voluntarily provided by employers. Throughout the book, private sector human resource practices and public sector human resource policies are linked to various benefit models: the human capital model; the passive participant model; the insurance model; the managed care model; and the integrated health benefits model. Butler argues that the current program-centered approach to human resource and risk management is often ineffectual because it (1) ignores overlapping benefits that mitigate useful cost-sharing mechanisms; (2) often results in the concentration of benefits amongrelatively few workers; and (3) sometimes has the unintended consequences of negatively affecting workers' human capital. In advocating a `worker-specific' approach to employee benefits, the book offers a unique perspective on how human resource managers, risk managers, and public policy makers can promote those institutions and programs that best increase workers' productivity.