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The effect of unemployment on the mental health of spouses - Evidence from plant closures in Germany

  • Jan Marcus;

Studies on health effects of unemployment usually neglect spillover effects on spouses. This study specifically investigates the effect of an individual’s unemployment on the mental health of their spouse. In order to allow for causal interpretation of the estimates, it focuses on an exogenous entry into unemployment (i.e. plant closure), and combines difference-in-difference and matching based on entropy balancing to provide robustness against observable and time-invariant unobservable heterogeneity. Using German Socio- Economic Panel Study data the paper reveals that unemployment decreases the mental health of spouses almost as much as for the directly affected individuals. The findings highlight that previous studies underestimate the public health costs of unemployment as they do not account for the potential consequences for spouses.

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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 12/17.

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Date of creation: Jul 2012
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:12/17
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  1. Andreas Kuhn & Rafael Lalive & Josef Zweimüller, 2009. "The public health costs of job loss," IEW - Working Papers 424, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Martin Salm, 2009. "Does job loss cause ill health?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(9), pages 1075-1089.
  3. Andreas Knabe & Steffen Rätzel, 2008. "Scarring or Scaring? The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment and Future Unemployment Risk," CESifo Working Paper Series 2457, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Lechner, Michael, 2009. "Long-run labour market and health effects of individual sports activities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 839-854, July.
  5. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2007. "Unemployment and self-assessed health: Evidence from panel data," MPRA Paper 1798, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Eliason, Marcus & Storrie, Donald, 2004. "Does job loss shorten life?," Working Papers in Economics 153, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 17 Sep 2007.
  7. Caliendo, Marco & Kopeinig, Sabine, 2005. "Some Practical Guidance for the Implementation of Propensity Score Matching," IZA Discussion Papers 1588, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. SonjaC. Kassenboehmer & JohnP. Haisken-DeNew, 2009. "You're Fired! The Causal Negative Effect of Entry Unemployment on Life Satisfaction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 448-462, 03.
  9. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP): Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  10. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  11. Arndt Reichert & Harald Tauchmann, 2011. "The Causal Impact of Fear of Unemployment on Psychological Health," Ruhr Economic Papers 0266, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  12. Schmitz, Hendrik, 2011. "Why are the unemployed in worse health? The causal effect of unemployment on health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 71-78, January.
  13. Andrew E. Clark, 2003. "Unemployment as a Social Norm: Psychological Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 289-322, April.
  14. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
  15. Salm, M., 2009. "Does job loss cause ill health?," Other publications TiSEM 314436db-9957-4912-ba47-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  16. Deb, Partha & Gallo, William T. & Ayyagari, Padmaja & Fletcher, Jason M. & Sindelar, Jody L., 2011. "The effect of job loss on overweight and drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 317-327, March.
  17. Martin Browning & Anne Moller Dano & Eskil Heinesen, 2006. "Job displacement and stress-related health outcomes," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(10), pages 1061-1075.
  18. Lindo, Jason M., 2011. "Parental job loss and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 869-879.
  19. Lindeboom, Maarten & Portrait, France & van den Berg, Gerard, 2002. "An econometric analysis of the mental-health effects of major events in the life of older individuals," Working Paper Series 2002:19, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  20. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  21. Melvin Stephens, 2002. "Worker Displacement and the Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 504-537, July.
  22. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306, August.
  23. Marcus, Jan, 2014. "Does Job Loss Make You Smoke and Gain Weight?," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 626-648.
  24. Thomas Siedler, 2011. "Parental unemployment and young people's extreme right‐wing party affinity: evidence from panel data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 174(3), pages 737-758, 07.
  25. 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.
  26. Browning, Martin & Heinesen, Eskil, 2012. "Effect of job loss due to plant closure on mortality and hospitalization," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 599-616.
  27. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3736383 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Matthias Nübling & Hanfried H. Andersen & Axel Mühlbacher & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2007. "Computation of Standard Values for Physical and Mental Health Scale Scores Using the SOEP Version of SF12v2," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 171-182.
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