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Does Job Loss Make You Smoke and Gain Weight?

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  • Jan Marcus

Abstract

This paper estimates the effect of involuntary job loss on smoking behavior and body weight using German Socio-Economic Panel Study data. Baseline nonsmokers are more likely to start smoking due to job loss, while smokers do not intensify their smoking. Job loss increases body weight slightly, but significantly. In particular, single individuals as well as those with lower health or socioeconomic status prior to job loss exhibit high rates of smoking initiation. The applied regression-adjusted semiparametric difference-in-difference matching strategy is robust against selection on observables and time-invariant unobservables. This paper provides an indirect test showing that the identifying assumption is not violated in the difference-in-difference estimator. The findings are robust over various matching specifications and different choices of the conditioning variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Marcus, 2012. "Does Job Loss Make You Smoke and Gain Weight?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 432, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp432
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job loss; smoking; body weight; health behavior; difference-in-difference; propensity score matching;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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