The Effect of Job Loss on Health

Evidence from Biomarkers

Published in:Labour Economics, Volume 41 (August 2016), Pages 194-203. doi: 10.1016/j.labeco.2016.05.014

Posted on RAND.org on October 04, 2017

by Pierre-Carl Michaud, Eileen Crimmins, Michael D. Hurd

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We estimate the effect of job loss on objective measures of physiological dysregulation using biomarker measures collected by the Health and Retirement Study in 2006 and 2008 and longitudinal self-reports of work status. We distinguish between group or individual layoffs, and business closures. Workers who are laid off from their job have lower health as measured by biomarker, whereas workers laid off in the context of a business closure do not. Estimates matching respondents wave-by-wave on self-reported health conditions and subjective job loss expectations prior to job loss, suggest strong effects of layoffs on biomarkers, in particular for glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). A layoff could increase annual mortality rates by 10.3%, consistent with other evidence of the effect of group layoffs on mortality.

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