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The effect of involuntary unemployment on the mental health of spouses

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  • Marcus, Jan

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus, Jan, 2012. "The effect of involuntary unemployment on the mental health of spouses," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 65413, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:65413
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Hyclak & Chad Meyerhoefer & Larry Taylor, 2015. "Older Americans’ health and the Great Recession," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 413-436, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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