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In Sickness and in Health: Job Displacement and Health Spillovers in Couples

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  • Gathmann, Christina

    (LISER)

  • Huttunen, Kristiina

    (Aalto University)

  • Jernström, Laura

    (University of Helsinki)

  • Sääksvuori, Lauri

    (University of Turku)

  • Stitzing, Robin

    (Aalto University)

Abstract

We study how a negative labor market shock like job loss generates health spillovers in couples. Using administrative data of all workers and firms matched to mortality and patient records, we document that male job displacement increases the mortality risk for both the man and his partner. For every 10,000 displaced men, there are 27 additional deaths over a 5-year period rising to 115 additional deaths over two decades. Of those, 60% accrue to the displaced worker but 40% are due to excess spousal mortality. Deaths from cardiovascular diseases jump up and hospitalization records show more treatments for alcohol-related disorders and mental health issues. We also find a stunning gender asymmetry: while male job displacement generates large and persistent health effects, no such dire health consequences are observed after a woman loses her job. We explore three explanations for the observed health spillovers: risk sharing through spousal labor supply; earnings losses and the role of public insurance; and the influence of gender roles and family structure.

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  • Gathmann, Christina & Huttunen, Kristiina & Jernström, Laura & Sääksvuori, Lauri & Stitzing, Robin, 2020. "In Sickness and in Health: Job Displacement and Health Spillovers in Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 13329, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13329
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    Cited by:

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    2. Martti Kaila & Emily Nix & Krista Riukula, 2021. "Disparate Impacts of Job Loss by Parental Income and Implications for Intergenerational Mobility," Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 53, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    3. Pedro Carneiro & Kjell G. Salvanes & Barton Willage & Alexander L.P. Willén, 2022. "The Timing of Parental Job Displacement, Child Development and Family Adjustment," CESifo Working Paper Series 9998, CESifo.
    4. Henri Salokangas, 2021. "Exploring the labor market consequences of psychiatric disorders: An event study approach," Discussion Papers 148, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    5. Kristiina Huttunen & Stefano Lombardi, 2021. "Mortality Inequality in Finland," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(1), pages 223-244, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    job displacement; mortality; spillovers; added worker; public insurance; gender roles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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