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Health and work in the family: Evidence from spouses’ cancer diagnoses

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  • Jeon, Sung-Hee
  • Pohl, R. Vincent

Abstract

Using Canadian administrative data from multiple sources, we provide the first nationally representative estimates for the effect of spouses’ cancer diagnoses on individuals’ employment and earnings and on family income. Our identification strategy exploits unexpected health shocks and combines matching with individual fixed effects in a generalized difference-in-differences framework to control for observable and unobservable heterogeneity. While the effect of spousal health shocks on labor supply is theoretically ambiguous, we find strong evidence for a decline in employment and earnings of individuals whose spouses are diagnosed with cancer. We interpret this result as individuals reducing their labor supply to provide care to their sick spouses and to enjoy joint leisure. Family income substantially declines after spouses’ cancer diagnoses, suggesting that the financial consequences of such health shocks are considerable.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeon, Sung-Hee & Pohl, R. Vincent, 2017. "Health and work in the family: Evidence from spouses’ cancer diagnoses," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1-18.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:1-18
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2016.12.008
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    Cited by:

    1. Jeon, Sung-Hee & Pohl, R. Vincent, 2019. "Medical innovation, education, and labor market outcomes of cancer patients," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    2. Thomas Barnay & Emmanuel Duguet & Christine Le Clainche, 2019. "The Effects of Breast Cancer on Individual Labour Market Outcomes: An Evaluation from an Administrative Panel in France," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 136, pages 103-126.
    3. Rellstab, Sara & Bakx, Pieter & García-Gómez, Pilar & van Doorslaer, Eddy, 2020. "The kids are alright - labour market effects of unexpected parental hospitalisations in the Netherlands," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    4. Amanda Gaulke, 2021. "Individual and family labor market impacts of chronic diseases," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 482-482, January.
    5. Z.V. Kambourova & W.H.J. Hassink, 2019. "Husband’s labour supply after a breast cancer diagnosis," Working Papers 19-10, Utrecht School of Economics.
    6. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Jörg Paetzold & Julia Schmieder, 2020. "Health of Elderly Parents, Their Children's Labor Supply, and the Role of Migrant Care Workers," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1902, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    7. Lee, Siha, 2020. "Household responses to disability shocks: Spousal labor supply, caregiving, and disability insurance," CLEF Working Paper Series 21, Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF), University of Waterloo.
    8. Siha Lee, 2020. "Spousal Labor Supply, Caregiving, and the Value of Disability Insurance," Department of Economics Working Papers 2020-08, McMaster University.
    9. Kokot, Johanna, 2017. "Does a spouse's health shock influence the partner's risk attitudes?," Ruhr Economic Papers 707, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Leduc, Elisabeth & Tojerow, Ilan, 2020. "Subsidizing Domestic Services as a Tool to Fight Unemployment: Effectiveness and Hidden Costs," IZA Discussion Papers 13544, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Sung-Hee Jeon & Vincent Pohl, 2019. "Medical Innovation, Education, and Labor Market Outcomes of Cancer Patients," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 19-306, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    12. Rennane, Stephanie, 2020. "A double safety net? Understanding interactions between disability benefits, formal assistance, and family support," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health shocks; Spousal cancer diagnosis; Spousal employment; Spousal earnings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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