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Measuring the human cost of a weak economy: Does unemployment lead to alcohol abuse?

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  • Ettner, Susan L.
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    Abstract

    This paper uses two-stage instrumental variables methods to examine whether unemployment affects alcohol use and symptoms of dependence, and if so, in which direction. Data were obtained from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey. The outcomes examined were average daily consumption during the previous two weeks and a summary measure of the number of symptoms related to alcohol dependence during the previous year. After eliminating potential bias due to reverse causality, evidence was found that non-employment significantly reduces both alcohol consumption and dependence symptoms, probably due to an income effect. Involuntary unemployment had a mixed effect--job loss increased the consumption of alcohol in the overall sample but reduced dependence symptoms among single respondents. Studies of the impact of alcohol use on economic outcomes should take potential reverse causality into account.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 44 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 2 (January)
    Pages: 251-260

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:44:y:1997:i:2:p:251-260

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    Keywords: unemployment alcohol consumption alcohol dependence alcohol abuse;

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    Cited by:
    1. Ana I. Balsa & Michael T. French, 2010. "Alcohol use and the labor market in Uruguay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 833-854.
    2. Dhaval M. Dave & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2010. "How Does the Business Cycle Affect Eating Habits?," NBER Working Papers 16638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chad Cotti & Richard A. Dunn & Nathan Tefft, 2013. "The Dow is Killing Me: Risky Health Behaviors and the Stock Market," Working Papers 20, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    5. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Alcohol abuse and economic conditions: Evidence from repeated cross-sections of individual-level data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 257-270.
    6. C. Vilaplana & José M. Labeaga & S. Jiménez-Martín, 2006. "Further evidence about alcohol consumption and the business cycle," Working Papers 2006-06, FEDEA.
    7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2004. "Macroeconomic Conditions, Health and Mortality," NBER Working Papers 11007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Tekin, Erdal & McClellan, Chandler & Minyard, Karen Jean, 2013. "Health and Health Behaviors during the Worst of Times: Evidence from the Great Recession," IZA Discussion Papers 7538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Arcaya, Mariana & Glymour, M. Maria & Christakis, Nicholas A. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Subramanian, S.V., 2014. "Individual and spousal unemployment as predictors of smoking and drinking behavior," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 89-95.
    10. Kalousova, Lucie & Burgard, Sarah A., 2014. "Unemployment, measured and perceived decline of economic resources: Contrasting three measures of recessionary hardships and their implications for adopting negative health behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 28-34.

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