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Job loss does not cause ill health

  • Salm, M

I use longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study to estimate the effect of job loss on health for near elderly employees. Job loss is a major cause of economic insecurity for working age individuals, and can cause reduction in income, and loss of health insurance. To control for possible reverse causality, this study focuses on people who were laid off for an exogenous reason - the closure of their previous employers’ business. I find that the unemployed are in worse health than employees, and that health reasons are a common cause of job termination. In contrast, I find no causal effect of exogenous job loss on various measures of health. This suggests that the inferior health of the unemployed compared to the employed could be explained by reverse causality. I also use instrumental variable regression to estimate the effect of loss of health insurance, loss of income, and re-employment on health, and again find no statistically significant effects.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 08/16.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:08/16
Contact details of provider: Postal: HEDG/HERC, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
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  1. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  2. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Displacement Induced Joblessness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(3), pages 517-22, August.
  3. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
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  6. Jennifer Stewart, 1999. "The Impact of Health Status on the Duration of Unemployment Spells and the Implications for Studies of the Impact of Unemployment on Health Status," Working Papers 33, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 1999.
  7. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2003. "Healthy Living in Hard Times," NBER Working Papers 9468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:2:p:617-650 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Melvin Stephens, Jr., 2003. "Job Loss Expectations, Realizations, and Household Consumption Behavior," NBER Working Papers 9508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mikael Lindahl, 2005. "Estimating the Effect of Income on Health and Mortality Using Lottery Prizes as an Exogenous Source of Variation in Income," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
  11. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  12. Chan Sewin & Stevens Ann H, 2004. "How Does Job Loss Affect the Timing of Retirement?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-26, May.
  13. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2002. "Instrumental variables and GMM: Estimation and testing," North American Stata Users' Group Meetings 2003 05, Stata Users Group.
  15. Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Johannesson, Magnus, 2003. "A note on the effect of unemployment on mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 505-518, May.
  16. Chan, Sewin & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2001. "Job Loss and Employment Patterns of Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 484-521, April.
  17. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
  18. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-88, January.
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