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Receiving unemployment benefits may have positive effects on the health of the unemployed

Cylus, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0001-8269-1578 and Avendano, Mauricio (2017) Receiving unemployment benefits may have positive effects on the health of the unemployed. Health Affairs, 36 (2). pp. 289-296. ISSN 0278-2715

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Identification Number: 10.1377/hlthaff.2016.1040


Research suggests that job loss can cause illness and premature death. This raises the question of whether unemployment benefit programs, which aim to alleviate the financial stress of job loss, can protect the health of the unemployed. To investigate the impact of unemployment benefits on health after job loss, we used data from 1984 to 2009 from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). We found that receiving unemployment benefits significantly reduces the probability of reporting poor health in the year after job loss by around 5 percentage points. The health promoting effects of unemployment benefits are robust across multiple model specifications and controls for pre-existing differences between benefit recipients and non-recipients. Our results add to an increasing body of literature that suggests that social policies can have unanticipated health effects.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Project HOPE
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2017 16:03
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 20:45
Projects: 263684, R01AG037398 and R01AG040248
Funders: European Research Council, National Institute on Aging, McArthur Foundation Research Network on Aging, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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