Working Paper Series, UCD Centre for Economic Research 14/09
The continued rise in overall cancer survival rates has ignited a field of research which examines the effect that cancer has on survivors' employment. Previous estimates of the effect of cancer on labour market outcomes, using U.S. data, show a significant reduction in employment and hours of work in the first 6 months after diagnosis. However, this impact has been found to dissipate after 2 years. I use data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and find that, not only does cancer have a negative impact in the first 6-month period following diagnosis, but also in the second 6-month period. I estimate that, in the second 6-month period after diagnosis, respondents with cancer are 20.7 percentage points less likely to work and work 24% less hours a week when compared to matched, healthy controls. This suggests that the negative effects from cancer can persist for longer than the 6 months identified in previous studies. Results are significant at the 1% level. These results have implications for government policy and employers, because it increases both the length of time that survivors may be on government supported sick pay and the expected time that workers will be absent from work due to illness.