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The effect of involuntary unemployment on the mental health of spouses

  • Marcus, Jan

This paper is the first to estimate the effect of one partner's entry into unemployment on the mental health of both spouses in Germany. In order to give the estimates a causal interpretation, this study focuses on an exogenous entry into unemployment (plant closure) and applies a regression-adjusted semiparametric difference-in-difference matching strategy, which is robust against selection on observables and time-invariant unobservables. About one year after the plant closure, unemployment decreased mental health by 25% of a standard deviation for the unemployed individuals themselves and by 23% of a standard deviation for their spouses. The results are robust over various matching specifications and different choices of the conditioning variables. Furthermore, this paper shows that mental health does not follow a different trend for treated and matched controls before the plant closure, adding additional credibility to the identification assumption.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/65413/1/VfS_2012_pid_547.pdf
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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century with number 65413.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:65413
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/Email:


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  1. Marco Caliendo & Sabine Kopeinig, 2008. "Some Practical Guidance For The Implementation Of Propensity Score Matching," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 31-72, 02.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Lindo, Jason M., 2011. "Parental job loss and infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 869-879.
  7. Salm, Martin, 2009. "Does Job Loss Cause Ill Health?," IZA Discussion Papers 4147, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Salm, M., 2009. "Does job loss cause ill health?," Other publications TiSEM 314436db-9957-4912-ba47-9, School of Economics and Management.
  12. Kuhn, Andreas & Lalive, Rafael & Zweimüller, Josef, 2009. "The public health costs of job loss," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1099-1115, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2002. "An econometric analysis of the mental-health effects of major events in the life of older individuals," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 505-520.
  15. 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.
  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. 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.
  18. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens Jr., 2001. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," NBER Working Papers 8578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3736383 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Böckerman, Petri & Ilmakunnas, Pekka, 2007. "Unemployment and self-assessed health: Evidence from panel data," MPRA Paper 1798, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Marcus Eliason & Donald Storrie, 2009. "Does Job Loss Shorten Life?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
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