Recessions, Job Loss and Mortality among Older Workers

Clemens Noelke, Harvard University
Beckfield Jason, Harvard University

We analyzed how the business cycle, recessions in particular, and job loss jointly shape mortality risks among older Americans. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we selected individuals who were employed and therefore at risk of job loss during the observation period from 1992-2010. We tested whether the business cycle moderates the effect of job loss on mortality and whether individuals who experience and who do not experience job loss are differentially affected by the recessions. Job loss during recessions is strongly predictive of mortality (HR = 1.7; 95% confidence interval = 1.2, 2.5). Job loss during normal times or booms is not associated with mortality. For employed workers, we found no effect of recessions on mortality risks on average, but some evidence suggesting that economy-wide and local economic contractions have offsetting effect on mortality.

  See paper

Presented in Session 93: Health and Mortality Effects of Macro Social, Economic, and Technological Change