Dying to Work: Effects of Unemployment Insurance on Health
Using administrative data for Upper Austrian workers from 2003--2013, we show that an extension in unemployment insurance (UI) duration increases unemployment length and impacts worker physical and mental health. These effects vary by gender. Specifically, we find that women eligible for an additional 9 weeks of UI benefits fill fewer opioid and antidepressant prescriptions and experience a lower likelihood of filing a disability claim, as compared to non-eligible unemployed women. Moreover, estimates indicate within-household spillovers for young children. For men, we find that extending UI benefit duration increases the likelihood of a cardiac event and eventual disability retirement filing.
We thank Sandra Black, Lindsey Bullinger, Kitt Carpenter, Carlos Dobkin, Alex Hollingsworth, Elira Kuka, Jason Lindo, Mike Makowsky, Jonathan Meer, Aparna Soni, Lesley Turner, Barton Willage, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer and seminar participants at Johannes Kepler University Linz, Vanderbilt University, and Vienna University of Business and Economics for helpful suggestions. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.