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Marcus, Jan
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[Journal:] Journal of Health Economics [ISSN:] 0167-6296 [Volume:] 32 [Issue:] 3 [Pages:] 546-558
Studies on health effects of unemployment usually neglect spillover effects on spouses. This study specifically investigates the effect of an individual's unemployment on the mental health of their spouse. In order to allow for causal interpretation of the estimates, it focuses on plant closure as entry into unemployment, and combines difference-in-difference and matching based on entropy balancing to provide robustness against observable and time-invariant unobservable heterogeneity. Using German Socio-Economic Panel Study data the paper reveals that unemployment decreases the mental health of spouses almost as much as for the directly affected individuals. The findings highlight that previous studies underestimate the public health costs of unemployment as they do not account for the potential consequences for spouses.
Mental health
Plant closure
Entropy balancing
Job loss
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NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in “Journal of Health Economics”. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Health Economics 32 (2013), 3, pp. 546–558 and is online available at
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