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Job security, stress, and health: evidence from the Russian privatization experience


Jensen, Robert T. (2001). Job security, stress, and health: evidence from the Russian privatization experience.


In this paper, we examine the health consequences of concern over job loss. We use panel data
from Russia that include measures of perceived likelihood of job loss and various measures of health status.
In order to deal with concerns about reverse causality and unobservable differences between those with
high and low likelihood of job loss, we instrument for changes in self-assessed likelihood of job loss using
industry-by-region privatization rates which were announced between two rounds of the survey. For men,
we find that an increased concern over job loss (a change from ‘not concerned’ to ‘very concerned’ on a
scale of 1 to 4) is associated with a 5% increase in measured systolic and diastolic blood pressure, a 6
percentage point increased likelihood of reporting chest pains and a 3.5 percentage point increase in the
likelihood of heart attack. Alcohol consumption also increases by 34 grams (about 1.5 “shots”) per week,
and smoking increases by 2 cigarettes per day. For women, the effects are much smaller; increased concern
over job loss increases blood pressure by 1-3% and the likelihood of chest pains and heart attack by 5 and 2
percentage points, respectively. We discuss how these results suggest that much of the Russian mortality
crisis of the early 1990’s may be attributable to economic stress.


Reference Type

Conference Proceedings

Year Published



Jensen, Robert T.