A note on the effect of unemployment on mortality

J Health Econ. 2003 May;22(3):505-18. doi: 10.1016/S0167-6296(03)00004-3.


In this note we test if unemployment has an effect on mortality using a large individual level data set of nearly 30,000 individuals in Sweden aged 20-64 years followed-up for 10-17 years. We follow individuals over time that are initially in the same health state, but differ with respect to whether they are employed or unemployed (controlling also for a number of individual characteristics that may affect the depreciation of health over time). Unemployment significantly increases the risk of being dead at the end of follow-up by nearly 50% (from 5.36 to 7.83%). In an analysis of cause-specific mortality, we find that unemployment significantly increases the risk of suicides and the risk of dying from "other diseases" (all diseases except cancer and cardiovascular), but has no significant effect on cancer mortality, cardiovascular mortality or deaths due to "other external causes" (motor vehicle accidents, accidents and homicides).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Family Characteristics
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Econometric
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*