The Effects of Import Competition on Health in the Local Economy
32 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2015 Last revised: 23 Apr 2016
Date Written: March 30, 2016
We study the effects of Chinese import exposure in the US on self-reported health measures. We find that average mental, physical, and general health worsens in local labor markets exposed to greater import competition between 2000 and 2007. The effects are greatest for mental health. Moving a region from the 25th to 75th percentile of import exposure corresponds to a 5.5% increase in the time individuals report suffering from poor mental health, adding about 0.18 days per month. The effects are greatest for the employed, consistent with theory from the health literature pertaining to the documented effects of import competition on wages, employment and job security. These estimates provide direct evidence that trade affects welfare through changes in overall mental and physical well-being.
Keywords: Import Competition, Trade Liberalization, Mental Health
JEL Classification: F16, F66, J81, J32, L60
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