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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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  • Ana I. Balsa & Michael T. French, 2010. "Alcohol use and the labor market in Uruguay," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(7), pages 833-854.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:19:y:2010:i:7:p:833-854 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1520

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. D. Mark Anderson, 2013. "The Impact Of Hiv Education On Behavior Among Youths: A Propensity Score Matching Approach," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 31(3), pages 503-527, July.
    2. Vasilios Kosteas, 2012. "The Effect of Exercise on Earnings: Evidence from the NLSY," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 225-250, June.
    3. Maclean, Johanna Catherine & French, Michael T., 2014. "Personality disorders, alcohol use, and alcohol misuse," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 286-300.
    4. Colin P. Green & Maria Navarro Paniagua, 2016. "Play Hard, Shirk Hard? The Effect of Bar Hours Regulation on Worker Absence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(2), pages 248-264, April.

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