Unemployment and health selection in diverging economic conditions: Compositional changes? Evidence from 28 European countries

Int J Equity Health. 2015 Nov 4:14:121. doi: 10.1186/s12939-015-0258-8.

Abstract

Unemployment and health selection in diverging economic conditions: Compositional changes? Evidence from 28 european countries.

Introduction: People with ill health tend to be overrepresented among the unemployment population. The relationship between health and unemployment might, however, be sensitive to the overall economic condition. Specifically, the health composition of the unemployment population could change dramatically when the economy takes a turn for the worse.

Methods: Using EU-SILC cross sectional data from 2007 (pre-crisis) and 2011 (during crisis) and linear regression models, this paper investigates the relationship between health and unemployment probabilities under differing economic conditions in 28 European countries. The countries are classified according to (i) the level of and (ii) increase in unemployment rate (i.e. >10 percent and doubling of unemployment rate = crisis country).

Results: Firstly, the unemployment likelihood for people with ill health is remarkably stable over time in Europe: the coefficients are very similar in pre-crisis and crisis years. Secondly, people with ill health have experienced unemployment to a lesser extent than those with good health status in the crisis year (when we pool the data and compare 2007 and 2011), but only in the countries with a high and rising unemployment rate.

Conclusion: The health composition of the unemployment population changes significantly for the better, but only in those European countries that have been severely hit by the current economic crisis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease / economics
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Economic Recession / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Unemployment / statistics & numerical data*