Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Employment and the flu

The relationship between labour market conditions and health has featured on this blog several times. This paper shows how increased employment increases incidence of the flu presumably through contagion:more infected people interacting with others.

Are pink slips better than flu shots? The effects of employment on influenza rates
S Markowitz, E Nesson, J Robinson
...In this paper, we examine whether increases in labor market activities are associated with an increased incidence of the flu. Flu data come from the Centers for Disease Control. We check the robustness of our results using unique data from Google Flu Trends. Using a first-difference two stage least squares estimation approach, we find that a one percentage point increase in the employment rate increases the number of influenza related doctor visits by about 8.1 additional flu-related doctor visits per 1000 doctor visits for all causes. To put this in perspective, on average, 33 additional people out of every 100,000 new employees will have a flu-related doctor visit. The results are robust across several specifications.

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