Economic and Health Implications of Long-Term Unemployment: Earnings, Disability Benefits, and Mortality

Kenneth Couch, University of Connecticut
Howard Iams, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)
Gayle Reznik, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)
Christopher R. Tamborini, U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA)

Data from the 1984 Survey of Income and Program Participation are linked to longitudinal records from the Social Security Administration to examine the impact of long-term joblessness experienced around the time of the ‘80-’82 twin recessions on earnings, disability, and mortality. Separate estimations are made for those who voluntarily and involuntarily left employment and the combined sample of these two groups. We find that long-term unemployment had significant sustained impacts on earnings, the receipt of disability benefits, and mortality. The patterns of these losses are consistently most pronounced among those who enter unemployment involuntarily.

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Presented in Session 186: Life Course Approaches to Health and Mortality