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Labour market conditions and adult health in Mexico


  • Pinar Mine Gunes
  • Magda Tsaneva


This paper examines the role of local labour market conditions on self‐reported adult physical and mental health and health behaviours in Mexico. We construct measures of overall and gender‐specific predicted employment growth rates using a shift‐share approach that exploits exogenous variation in national industry‐specific growth rates and baseline industry employment shares across municipalities. Using detailed household‐level panel data and individual fixed effects, we find that increases in overall formal labour demand improve physical health of men but have no effect on the health of women. However, increases in gender‐specific formal labour demand improve the physical health of both men and women, with larger effects among men. We also find significant but small effects of male labour demand on the mental health of men. All effects are more pronounced for less educated people. Finally, we explore a range of potential mechanisms, finding that the effects might operate through changes in labour market outcomes, but we do not find evidence that the effects operate through changes in health behaviours. Conditions du marché du travail et santé des adultes au Mexique. Cet article étudie le rôle de l'état du marché de l'emploi local sur la santé physique et mentale ainsi que sur les comportements liés à la santé auto‐déclarés des adultes au Mexique. En nous appuyant sur une approche structurelle‐résiduelle exploitant les variations exogènes des taux de croissance spécifiques à chaque secteur d'activité au niveau national, ainsi que des parts d'emploi correspondantes d'une municipalité à l'autre, nous développons des indicateurs des taux de croissance de l'emploi prévus à la fois pour l'ensemble de la population et pour chaque sexe. Grâce à des données de panel détaillées recueillies au niveau des foyers mexicains, et en tenant compte d'effets fixes individuels, nous constatons que la hausse de la demande globale de main‐d'œuvre officielle permet d'améliorer la santé physique des hommes, mais n'sentraîne aucun effet sur la santé des femmes. Néanmoins, la hausse de la demande de main d'œuvre spécifique à chaque sexe améliore la santé physique des femmes et des hommes avec des effets plus marqués pour ces derniers. Nous constatons également que la hausse de la demande de main d'œuvre masculine entraîne des effets limités mais significatifs sur la santé mentale des hommes. Tous ces effets sont davantage prononcés chez les personnes moins qualifiées. Enfin, nous explorons l'action de différents mécanismes potentiels et nos résultats suggèrent que les effets sur la santé peuvent résulter de l'évolution du marché du travail. En revanche, rien ne nous permet d'affirmer que ces effets puissent résulter de l'évolution des comportements liés à la santé.JEL classification: I1, J23, J16

Suggested Citation

  • Pinar Mine Gunes & Magda Tsaneva, 2022. "Labour market conditions and adult health in Mexico," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(1), pages 106-137, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:55:y:2022:i:1:p:106-137
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12576

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination


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