Employer Downsizing and Older Workers' Health

45 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Italo A. Gutierrez

Italo A. Gutierrez

Independent Consultant

Pierre-Carl Michaud

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Department of Economics; Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE); RAND Corporation, Labor and Population; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Netspar

Abstract

We estimate the effects of employer downsizing on older workers' health outcomes using different approaches to control for endogeneity and sample selection. With the exception of the instrumental variables approach, which provides large imprecise estimates, our results suggest that employer downsizing increases the probability that older workers rate their health as fair or poor; increases the risk of showing symptoms of clinical depression; and increases the risk of being diagnosed with stroke, arthritis, and psychiatric or emotional problems. We find weaker evidence that downsizing increases the risk of showing high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of general inflammation.We find that downsizing affects health by increasing job insecurity and stress, but that its effects remain statistically significant after controlling for these pathways, suggesting that other mechanisms such as diminished morale and general demotivation also affect worker health. Our findings suggest that employers ought to consider actions to offset the detrimental health effects of reducing personnel on their remaining (older) workers.

Keywords: older workers, employer downsizing, health outcomes

JEL Classification: I12, M51

Suggested Citation

Gutierrez, Italo A. and Michaud, Pierre-Carl, Employer Downsizing and Older Workers' Health. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9140, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655089

Italo A. Gutierrez (Contact Author)

Independent Consultant ( email )

Pierre-Carl Michaud

University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 8888, Downtown Station
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3P8
Canada

Centre Interuniversitaire sur le Risque, les Politiques Economiques et l'Emploi (CIRPÉE) ( email )

Pavillon De Sève
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

RAND Corporation, Labor and Population ( email )

Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Netspar ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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