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The Effects of Employment on Influenza Rates

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  • Sara Markowitz
  • Erik Nesson
  • Joshua Robinson

Abstract

The seasonal influenza virus afflicts millions of people in the U.S. population each year, imposing significant costs on those who fall ill, their families, employers, and the health care system. The flu is transmitted via droplet spread or close contact, and certain environments, such as schools or offices, promote transmission. In this paper, we examine whether increases in employment are associated with increased incidence of the flu. We use state-level data on the prevalence of the flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In our preferred specification, we find that a one percentage point increase in the employment rate increases the number of influenza related doctor visits by about 16 percent, and these effects are highly pronounced in the retail sector and healthcare sector, the sectors with the highest levels of interpersonal contact.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara Markowitz & Erik Nesson & Joshua Robinson, 2010. "The Effects of Employment on Influenza Rates," NBER Working Papers 15796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15796
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    5. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    6. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2003. "Good times make you sick," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 637-658, July.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    8. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Johannesson, Magnus, 1999. "New estimates of the demand for health: results based on a categorical health measure and Swedish micro data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(10), pages 1325-1332, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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