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Job loss does not cause ill health

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  • Salm, M

Abstract

I use longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study to estimate the effect of job loss on health for near elderly employees. Job loss is a major cause of economic insecurity for working age individuals, and can cause reduction in income, and loss of health insurance. To control for possible reverse causality, this study focuses on people who were laid off for an exogenous reason - the closure of their previous employers’ business. I find that the unemployed are in worse health than employees, and that health reasons are a common cause of job termination. In contrast, I find no causal effect of exogenous job loss on various measures of health. This suggests that the inferior health of the unemployed compared to the employed could be explained by reverse causality. I also use instrumental variable regression to estimate the effect of loss of health insurance, loss of income, and re-employment on health, and again find no statistically significant effects.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 08/16.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:08/16

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  1. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  2. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
  3. Chan Sewin & Stevens Ann H, 2004. "How Does Job Loss Affect the Timing of Retirement?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, May.
  4. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2002. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 545, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 14 Feb 2003.
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  6. Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Loss Expectations, Realizations, and Household Consumption Behavior," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 253-269, February.
  7. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Mikael Lindahl, 2005. "Estimating the Effect of Income on Health and Mortality Using Lottery Prizes as an Exogenous Source of Variation in Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
  9. Chan, Sewin & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2001. "Job Loss and Employment Patterns of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 484-521, April.
  10. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
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  12. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Johannesson, Magnus, 2003. "A note on the effect of unemployment on mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 505-518, May.
  13. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
  14. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
  15. Arrow, J. O., 1996. "Estimating the influence of health as a risk factor on unemployment: A survival analysis of employment durations for workers surveyed in the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-1990)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(12), pages 1651-1659, June.
  16. Meyer, Bruce D, 1995. "Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 151-61, April.
  17. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Displacement Induced Joblessness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 517-22, August.
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