Unemployment and alcohol-related health in Sweden
Abstract: A large number of studies have explored the relations between unemployment and alcohol-related health, but so far there is no consensus among the results. This paper contributes to the literature by exploring how unemployment is related to overall alcohol consumption as well as to the rates of alcohol poisoning, alcohol addiction and alcohol-related liver disease. A fixed effects model is used on Swedish county-level data from 2000 to 2012. The results indicate that patterns in aggregate alcohol consumption might not reveal the actual health effects. Overall consumption was found not to be linked with unemployment, but a consistent positive relationship was found with the instance of alcohol poisoning, indicating that unemployment increases binge drinking. No significant relationship was found between unemployment and alcohol addiction or alcohol-related liver disease, suggesting that unemployment does not induce alcohol abuse that is long-term enough to develop those conditions. Additionally, this paper implies it is desirable to use morbidity rates instead of mortality rates as health proxies, and that models with lags should be explored to allow for time until the alcohol-related health effects are revealed.
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