Projects Funded for Kwabena Donkor


The Tradeoff Facing Agricultural Workers Between Wages and Health Care and other Benefits

Jeffrey Perloff, Kwabena Donkor, and Susan Gabbard


Specific Objectives of the Project:
We investigated the tradeoff facing hired, seasonal agricultural workers between wages and various benefits, particularly health care insurance.

Project Report/Summary of Results:
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made health insurance more available to low-wage people, such as documented hired-seasonal-agricultural workers. Were workers who gained government health insurance more likely to take jobs that offered high wages and few benefits rather than jobs with lower wages that offered more benefits? Based on data from the National Agricultural Worker Survey from 2010 through 2016, the on-the-job benefits of these workers did not change significantly after the ACA went into effect. Incentive benefits, season-ending benefits, and holiday benefits did not change at all. Agricultural jobs provided health insurance at the same rate as prior to ACA. However, documented workers, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions, were much 11.4% more likely to have government health insurance and 5.6% less likely to rely on employer insurance.