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Mental Health and Working Conditions in European Countries

  • Cottini, Elena

    ()

    (University of Milan)

  • Lucifora, Claudio

    ()

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

Increased pressure for labour market flexibility and increasing demand over workers' performance have fostered the idea that working conditions, in most European countries, have progressively deteriorated with adverse effects on psychological well being and mental health. This paper investigates the links between contractual arrangements, working conditions and mental health using time-series cross-section data for 15 European countries. We use different waves of the European Working Conditions Survey (1995, 2000, 2005) to document recent patterns in mental health at the workplace and to assess how these are related to various job attributes. We find substantial heterogeneity in mental health incidence at the workplace both across workers, as well as between countries. Given population heterogeneity in responses to mental health questions, we implement a methodology for differential reporting in ordered response models which allows for threshold shifts. We show that a set of workplace attributes, such as: working in shifts, performing complex and intensive tasks and having restricted job autonomy lead to a higher probability of reporting mental health problems. We also provide evidence of a positive causal effect of adverse overall working conditions on mental health distress. We show that labour market institutions, and health and safety regulations can explain a significant part of cross-country differences.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4717.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: ILR Review, 2013, 66 (4), 958-988
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4717
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  1. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2009. "Unemployment, institutions and reform complementarities: Re-assessing the aggregate evidence for OECD countries," Post-Print halshs-00395144, HAL.
  2. David Madden, 2010. "Gender Differences in Mental Well-Being: a Decomposition Analysis," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 101-114, October.
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  8. Robone, S & Jones, A. M & Rice, N, 2008. "Contractual Conditions, Working conditions, Health and Well-Being in the British Household Panel Survey," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 08/19, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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  12. Arellano, Manuel & Meghir, Costas, 1992. "Female Labour Supply and On-the-Job Search: An Empirical Model Estimated Using Complementary Data Sets," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 537-59, July.
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  14. Maury Gittleman & Michael Horrigan & Mary Joyce, 1998. "Flexible workplace practices: Evidence from a nationally representative survey," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(1), pages 99-115, October.
  15. Godin, Isabelle & Kittel, France, 2004. "Differential economic stability and psychosocial stress at work: associations with psychosomatic complaints and absenteeism," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(8), pages 1543-1553, April.
  16. Richard Williams, 2006. "Generalized ordered logit/partial proportional odds models for ordinal dependent variables," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(1), pages 58-82, March.
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