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Work and the accommodation of chronic illness: A re-examination of the health-labour supply relationship

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This study uses a data set of over 14000 households from the state of New Jersey in the USA to estimate the impact of specific chronic health conditions on the probability of employment and finds wide variation of employment impacts across chronic conditions. Additionally, the elasticity of the employment response is generally greater for women and lower-skilled workers. Most notable is the role of comorbidity. Individuals with multiple conditions have markedly lower probability of employment, and chronic illness explains virtually all of the large gap in employment probability for those who have multiple conditions. This is shown using a summary index of disease status that correlates closely with employment rates across age groups. In the aggregate, chronic disease striking in adulthood explains about 10% of the total non-employment in the New Jersey among those aged 35-74. Finally, cross-sectional evidence gives little support for health as a primary determinant of the aggregate age-employment profile, though controlling for the age-specific severity of conditions may alter this finding.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-07-20

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