Unemployment & mortality in Scotland: towards a causal explanation
Clemens, T., Popham, F. & Boyle, P. (2010) British Society for Population Studies annual conference 2010 University of Exeter, UK, 13 - 15 September 2010 [SLS]
Unemployment is related to poorer health and mortality. However, the extent to which this relationship is causal is a matter of continuing research. In particular, the issues of both direct selection (poor health causing unemployment) and indirect selection (differences in individual characteristics) are both suggested as possible explanations of the unemployment health association. In this paper we bring together routinely collected administrative data (from the Scottish Longitudinal Study) that is unique in the UK context and an innovative research design (propensity score matching) to ask; is there a mortality risk of unemployment in Scotland and to what extent is this risk attenuated by (health) selection? We discuss our findings in light of other recent studies conducted in Nordic countries that have also explored whether unemployment heightens mortality risk. Within this literature we focus particularly on the role of differences in welfare state provision between these Nordic countries and the UK.