Health and the labor market

Health and the labor market


PROJECT MANAGER: Kjell Gunnar Salvanes 

Project duration: 2013-2017

  • Project summary

    Project summary

    The project is funded by the VAM program of the Research Council of Norway.

  • Publications


    Aline Bütikofer and Meghan Skira, Journal of Human Resources, Winter 2018, vol. 53(1):71-122

    Missing Work IS A Pain: The Effect of cox-2 inhibitors on sickness absence and disability pension receipt

    How does medical innovation affect labor supply? We analyze how the availability of Cox-2 inhibitors, pharmaceuticals used for treating pain and inflammation, affected the sickness absence and disability pension receipt of individuals with joint pain. We exploit the market entry of the Cox-2 inhibitor Vioxx and its sudden market withdrawal as exogenous sources of variation in drug use. Using Norwegian administrative data, we find Vioxx's entry decreased quarterly sickness absence days among individuals with joint pain by 7-12 percent. The withdrawal increased sickness days by 12-16 percent and increased the quarterly probability of receiving disability benefits by 6-15 percent.
    Sandra E. Black, Paul J. Devereux, and Kjell G. Salvanes, ILR Review, 68(4), 2015, 833-861

    Losing Heart? The effect of job displacement on health

    Job reallocation is considered a key characteristic of well-functioning labor markets, as more productive firms grow and less productive ones contract or close. Despite its potential benefits for the economy, however, costs that are borne by the displaced workers are significant. The authors study how job displacement in Norway affects cardiovascular health, using a sample of men and women who are predominantly in their early 40s. To do so, they merge survey data on health and health behaviors with register data on person and firm characteristics. The authors compare the health of displaced and non-displaced workers from five years before to seven years after displacement. Results show that job displacement leads to an increase in smoking behavior for both men and women but few other short-term health effects. These results are robust to a variety of specification checks.
    Sandra E. Black, Paul J. Devereux, and Kjell G. Salvanes, NBER Working Papers 21337

    Healthy(?), Wealthy and Wise: Birth Order and Adult Health

    While recent research finds strong evidence that birth order affects children’s outcomes such as education, IQ scores, and earnings, the evidence for effects on health is more limited. This paper uses a large dataset on the population of Norway and focuses on the effect of birth order on a range of health and health-related behaviors, outcomes not previously available in datasets of this magnitude. Interestingly, we find complicated effects of birth order. First-borns are more likely to be overweight, to be obese, and to have high blood pressure and high triglycerides. So, unlike education or earnings, there is no clear first-born advantage in health. However, later-borns are more likely to smoke and have poorer self-reported physical and mental health. They are also less likely to report that they are happy. We find that these effects are largely unaffected by conditioning on education and earnings, suggesting that these are not the only important pathways to health differentials by birth order. When we explore possible mechanisms, we find that smoking early in pregnancy is more prevalent for first pregnancies than for later ones. However, women are more likely to quit smoking during their first pregnancy than during later ones, and first-borns are more likely to be breast-fed. These findings suggest a role for early maternal investment in determining birth order effects on health.
    Eirin Mølland, Labour Economics, 43, 2016, 6–28

    Benefits from delay? the effect of abortion availability on young women and their children

    Using population data from Norway, we examine the effects of stress induced by the death of the mother's parent during pregnancy on both the short-run and the long-run outcomes of the infant. Using a variety of empirical strategies to address the issue of nonrandom exposure to death during a pregnancy, we find small negative effects on birth outcomes. However, we find no evidence of adverse effects on adult outcomes. This suggests that, though there may be measurable effects on birth outcomes, acute psychological stressors during pregnancy have limited adverse consequences for the child's success in education and the labor market.
  • Events


    28 August - 1 September 2017 Bergen (Norway)

    PhD course with A. Colin Cameron (U.C. Davis) on ADVANCED MICROECONOMETRICS

    14 - 16 May 2017 Bergen (Norway)

    Bergen-Stavanger Conference in Workshop on Labor Markets, Families, and Children

    29 August - 1 September 2016 Bergen (Norway)

    PhD COurse with janet currie and benteley macleod on New Frontiers in Human Capital

    12 - 13 June 2016 Bergen (Norway)

    11th Nordic Summer Institute in Labor Economics

    6 - 9 September 2015 Agriturismo Albarossa (Piedmont, Italy)

    Joint CReAM UCL, University of Warwick and CELE Workshop on “The Economics of Human Capital”

    3 - 7 August 2015 Bergen (Norway)

    PHD COURSE WITH Gordon Dahl ON Causal Inference without Experiments: Empirical Strategies and Examples 

    14 - 15 May 2015 London School of Economics & Political Science

    Austin-Bergen-London (ABL) Empirical Microeconomics Workshop 2015 



Assistant Professor, University of Cambridge




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