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Does Job Loss Shorten Life?


  • Marcus Eliason
  • Donald Storrie


This paper examines the impact of job loss on overall and cause-specific mortality. Using linked employer-employee data, we identified the workers displaced due to all establishment closures in Sweden in 1987 and 1988. Hence, we have extended the case study approach, which has dominated the plant closure literature. The overall mortality risk among men increased by 44 percent during the first four years following job loss, while there was no impact on either female overall mortality or in the longer run. For both sexes, however, there was an about twofold short-run increase in suicides and alcohol-related mortality.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Eliason & Donald Storrie, 2009. "Does Job Loss Shorten Life?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:44:y:2009:i2:p277-302

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefan Bender & Christian Dustmann & David Margolis & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Worker Displacement in France and Germany," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00370611, HAL.
    2. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
    3. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Causal Effects in Non-Experimental Studies: Re-Evaluating the Evaluation of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 6586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David Margolis, 1999. "Worker Displacement in France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00370589, HAL.
    5. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
    6. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    7. Wilson, Chris M. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2005. "How Does Marriage Affect Physical and Psychological Health? A Survey of the Longitudinal Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 1619, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Some practical issues in the evaluation of heterogeneous labour market programmes by matching methods," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 59-82.
    9. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
    10. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra Todd, 1998. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 261-294.
    11. 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 165-188, January.
    12. Peter J. Kuhn (ed.), 2002. "Losing Work, Moving On: International Perspectives on Worker Displacement," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number lwmo, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings


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