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Is temporary employment damaging to health? A longitudinal study on Italian workers

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Abstract

Working conditions have dramatically changed over recent decades in all the countries of European Union: permanent full-time employment characterized by job security and a stable salary is replaced more and more by temporary work, apprenticeship contracts, casual jobs and part-time work. The consequences of these changes on the general well-being of workers and their health represent an increasingly important path of inquiry. We add to the debate by answering the question: are Italian workers on temporary contracts more likely to suffer from poor health than those with permanent jobs? Our analysis is based on a sample of men and women aged 16-64 coming from the Italian longitudinal survey 2007-2010 of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions. We use the method of inverse-probability-of-treatment weights to estimate the causal effect of temporary work on self-rated health, controlling for selection effects. Our major findings can be summarized as follows: firstly, we show that the negative association between precarious employment and health is not simply due to a selection of healthier individuals in the group of people who find permanent jobs (selection effect), but it results from a causal effect in the work-to-health direction. Secondly, we find that the temporariness of the working status becomes particularly negative for the individual’s health when it is prolonged over time. Thirdly, whereas temporary employment does not entail adverse consequences for men, the link between precarious work and health is strongly harmful for Italian women.

Suggested Citation

  • Elena Pirani & Silvana Salvini, 2014. "Is temporary employment damaging to health? A longitudinal study on Italian workers," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2014_08, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".
  • Handle: RePEc:fir:econom:wp2014_08
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    File URL: http://local.disia.unifi.it/wp_disia/2014/wp_disia_2014_08.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Self-rated health; temporary contracts; Italy; causal inference; gender inequalities;

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