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Health effects of unemployment benefit program generosity

Cylus, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-8269-1578, Glymour, M. Maria and Avendano, Mauricio (2015) Health effects of unemployment benefit program generosity. American Journal of Public Health, 105 (2). pp. 317-323. ISSN 0090-0036

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Identification Number: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302253


Objectives: Unemployment has been linked to poorer health, but few studies identify policies that mitigate the negative health consequences of joblessness. Unemployment benefit programmes might protect health through several pathways, but a key methodological challenge is accounting for the fact that individuals who receive unemployment benefits differ from those who do not receive benefits. Methods: We link US state law data on maximum allowable unemployment benefit levels between 1985 and 2008 to individual self-rated health for heads of households in the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and implement state and year fixed effect models. Results: Unemployment is associated with increased risk of reporting poor health among men in both linear probability (Beta =0.0794, 95% CI[Confidence Interval]: 0.0623, 0.0965) and logistic models (Odds ratio[OR] =2.777, 95%CI 2.294, 3.362), but this effect is lower when the generosity of state unemployment benefits is high (Beta for interaction between unemployment and benefits=-0.124, 95% CI: -0.197, -0.0523). A 63% increase in benefits completely offsets the impact of unemployment on self-reported health. Conclusions: Results suggest that unemployment benefits may significantly alleviate the adverse health effects of unemployment among men.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors
Divisions: Lifecourse, Ageing & Population Health
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 22 Oct 2014 08:35
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2024 01:00
Projects: 263684, R01AG040248, R01AG037398 and R01AG040248
Funders: European Research Council, National Institute on Aging, McArthur Foundation Research Network on Ageing, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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