Giulia Tattarini, Doctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences, University of Potsdam.
Prior studies have shown that unemployment has numerous negative consequences for individuals’ health. The first of two papers I will present builds on the existing literature by investigating how families support unemployed members and how this support interacts with the broader institutional context—i.e., the welfare regime. Using panel models applied to EU-SILC data for 2004-2011, I confirm that job loss is causally linked to significant declines in health, with women suffering fewer negative effects than men. The increased risk of poor health is lower for coupled men, especially if their partners are employed, suggesting that both emotional and economic support play a role. The mitigating role of families, furthermore, varies across different welfare regimes in Europe. The second paper investigates further why the consequences of unemployment differ for men and women. I test two hypothesis derived from social roles theories (i.e. the availability and centrality in individuals’ lives of roles other than employment) and health selection theory (i.e. the different extent to which selection mechanisms operate across genders). Empirical results support my hypothesis of a larger gendered effect in traditional contexts with respect to egalitarian ones. I find only weak support for the role of health selection as a social process - operating via gender - in shaping the relations between unemployment and health.