بینش بیکاری، بیمه بیکاری و سلامت روان
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Health Economics, Volume 30, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 258–264
This paper contributes to the growing literature on the relationship between business cycles and mental health. It is one of the first applications in the economics literature to incorporate data on web searches from Google Insights for Search, and these unique data allow the opportunity to estimate the association between weekly unemployment insurance (UI) claims, in addition to monthly unemployment rates, and search indexes for “depression” and “anxiety”. Results from state fixed effects models yield (1) a positive relationship between the unemployment rate and the depression search index and (2) a negative relationship between initial UI claims on the one hand and the depression and anxiety search indexes on the other. A lag analysis also shows that an extended period of higher levels of continued UI claims is associated with a higher depression search index.
This paper adds to the growing literature on the relationship between business cycles and health. Previous studies have focused on the relationship between unemployment levels and a range of health outcomes including both mortality and morbidity (see Ruhm, 2005 for example). Recent business cycle changes and the availability of new data offer two advantages that are leveraged here. First, the “Great Recession” of 20071,2 is widely believed to be the worst recession in the U.S. since the Great Depression, notably with an extended duration of high levels of unemployment. Insofar as this recession is different from those previously studied it is important to measure its potentially unique effects on population health. Second, data that have recently been made available by Google through the product Google Insights for Search3 (GI) allow a unique view on how people may respond to business cycles regarding their health. These data allow for the comparison of an index of Google searches within U.S. states and by week for specific search terms. This paper explores the relationship between unemployment and unemployment insurance (UI) claims and Google searches for “depression” and “anxiety”. To flesh out the relationship, evidence is presented suggesting that these searches are meaningful representations of the intent to understand or seek treatment for symptoms of psychological distress that are experienced at the time of search. Broadly speaking, the results suggest that unemployment and continued UI claims are positively associated with searches for depression while initial UI claims are negatively associated with searches for depression and anxiety (with a more negative association in states with more generous unemployment insurance benefits). There are several contributions to the literature made by this paper. It is one of the first to simultaneously examine the effects of unemployment and UI on measures related to psychological distress. It is also one of the first to introduce GI in the economics literature, which in this case allows for a precise analysis of weekly reported UI claims. Finally, it adds to the large but growing literature on the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and mental health. The paper proceeds as follows. First, I describe previous literature that (a) explores the relationship between business cycles and mental health and (b) introduces the GI data. Next, I outline the empirical framework and provide a detailed data description. Results on the relationship between unemployment, UI, and searches are presented including robustness checks, a lag analysis, timing effects of UI receipt, and pre- and post-recession effects. In the last section I conclude.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There has recently been extraordinary legislative activity with respect to UI and it is unclear what further action may be taken. Legislation enacted since July 2008 has repeatedly extended the federal unemployment benefit duration20 to its current level of 99 weeks, but with the expiration of benefits for a large number of workers at the end of 2010 there has been discussion in the media and among lawmakers about the possibility of further extensions.21 While these programs were quickly taken under consideration due to rapidly deteriorating employment, they were enacted with relatively little knowledge of their broad associations with health outcomes. This paper aims in part to fill this gap in knowledge. While the associations between UI and Internet searches identified here are both suggestive and informative, more research is necessary to identify causal relationships between changes in UI policy and mental health. 22 Finally, a common finding in previous research is the continued procyclical nature of mental health with respect to the unemployment rate. The results presented here are consistent with studies of previous recessions that find high unemployment rates may be damaging to mental health. Because of the protracted nature of the labor market downturn following the Great Recession, this body of research suggests that policy makers and health care professionals be aware of an ongoing elevation of psychological distress.