Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2012: Neue Wege und Herausforderungen für den Arbeitsmarkt des 21. Jahrhunderts - Session: Health and Welfare No. D12-V3
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.