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The Effect of Unemployment on the Mental Health of Spouses: Evidence from Plant Closures in Germany

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  • Jan Marcus

Abstract

Studies on health effects of unemployment usually neglect spillover effects on spouses. This study specifically investigates the effect of an individual's unemployment on the mental health of their spouse. In order to allow for causal interpretation of the estimates, it focuses on an exogenous entry into unemployment (i.e. plant closure), and combines difference-in-difference and matching based on entropy balancing to provide robustness against observable and time-invariant unobservable heterogeneity. Using German Socio-Economic Panel Study data the paper reveals that unemployment decreases the mental health of spouses almost as much as for the directly affected individuals. The findings highlight that previous studies underestimate the public health costs of unemployment as they do not account for the potential consequences for spouses.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.409023.de/diw_sp0488.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 488.

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Length: 25 p.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp488

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Keywords: Unemployment; mental health; plant closure; entropy balancing; matching; job loss;

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References

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. How much do spouses suffer from unemployment?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-11-05 15:10:00
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Cited by:
  1. Schmitz, H.; & Westphal, M.;, 2013. "Short- and medium-term effects of informal care provision on health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/23, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  2. Peter Eibich, 2014. "Understanding the Effect of Retirement on Health Using Regression Discontinuity Design," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 669, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  3. André Hajek, 2013. "Life Satisfaction and Unemployment: The Role of Voluntariness and Job Prospects," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 601, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  4. Nádia Simões & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira & Celeste A. Varum, 2013. "Measurement and Determinants of Health Poverty and Richness – Evidence from Portugal," Working Papers Series 2 13-08, ISCTE-IUL, Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL).

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