Job Loss: Eat, drink and try to be merry?
NBER Working Paper No. 15122
Issued in July 2009
NBER Program(s): AG HC HE
This paper examines the impact of job loss from business closings on body mass index (BMI) and alcohol consumption. We improve upon extant literature by using: exogenously determined business closings, a sophisticated estimation approach (finite mixture models) to deal with complex heterogeneity, and national, longitudinal data (Health and Retirement Study). For both alcohol consumption and BMI, we find evidence that individuals who are more likely to respond to job loss by increasing unhealthy behaviors are already in the problematic range for these behaviors before losing their jobs. Thus health effects of job loss could be concentrated among “at risk” individuals.
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