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Alcohol use and the labor market in Uruguay

  • Ana I. Balsa

    (Health Economics Research Group, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA)

  • Michael T. French

This paper is one of only a few studies to examine potential labor market consequences of heavy or abusive drinking in Latin America and the first to focus on Uruguay. We analyzed data from a Uruguayan household survey conducted in 2006 using propensity score matching methods and controlling for a number of socio-demographic, family, regional, behavioral health, and labor market characteristics. As expected, we found a positive association between heavy drinking and absenteeism, particularly for female employees. Counter to the findings for developed countries, our results revealed a positive relationship between heavy drinking and labor force participation or employment. This result was mostly driven by men and weakened when considering more severe measures of abusive drinking. Possible explanations for these findings are that employment leads to greater alcohol use through an income effect, that the Uruguayan labor market rewards heavy drinking, or that labor market characteristics typical of less developed countries, such as elevated safety risks or job instability, lead to problem drinking. Future research with panel data should explore these possible mechanisms. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/hec.1520
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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 19 (2010)
Issue (Month): 7 ()
Pages: 833-854

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Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:7:p:833-854
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/jhome/5749

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  1. Weiwei Feng & Wei Zhou & J.S. Butler & Brenda M. Booth & Michael T. French, 2001. "The impact of problem drinking on employment," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(6), pages 509-521.
  2. Ettner, Susan L., 1997. "Measuring the human cost of a weak economy: Does unemployment lead to alcohol abuse?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 251-260, January.
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Marco Caliendo, 2007. "Sensitivity analysis for average treatment effects," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(1), pages 71-83, February.
  4. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody L, 1991. "Gender Differences in Labor Market Effects of Alcoholism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 161-65, May.
  5. John Mullahy & Jody L. Sindelar, 1997. "Women and work: tipplers and teetotalers," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 6(5), pages 533-537.
  6. French, Michael T. & Zarkin, Gary A., 1995. "Is moderate alcohol use related to wages? Evidence from four worksites," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-344, August.
  7. DiPrete, Thomas A. & Gangl, Markus, 2004. "Assessing bias in the estimation of causal effects: Rosenbaum bounds on matching estimators and instrumental variables estimation with imperfect instruments," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2004-101, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  8. Ziggy MacDonald & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Does problem drinking affect employment? Evidence from England," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(2), pages 139-155.
  9. Mullahy, John & Sindelar, Jody L, 1993. "Alcoholism, Work, and Income," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(3), pages 494-520, July.
  10. Petra E. Todd & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2001. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Performance of Propensity-Score Matching Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 112-118, May.
  11. Charles Michalopoulos & Howard S. Bloom & Carolyn J. Hill, 2004. "Can Propensity-Score Methods Match the Findings from a Random Assignment Evaluation of Mandatory Welfare-to-Work Programs?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 156-179, February.
  12. Vivian Hamilton & Barton H. Hamilton, 1997. "Alcohol and Earnings: Does Drinking Yield a Wage Premium," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(1), pages 135-51, February.
  13. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  14. Zarkin, Gary A. & French, Michael T. & Mroz, Thomas & Bray, Jeremy W., 1998. "Alcohol use and wages: New results from the national household survey on drug abuse," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 53-68, January.
  15. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
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