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Mental Well-being of the Bereaved and Labor Market Outcomes

by Tanaka, Atsuko and Beck, Laurel

This paper examines how grief caused by the death of an immediate family member affects labor force outcomes through adverse changes to mental health for elderly Americans. To deal with measurement issues, we differentiate mental health conditions from personality by exploiting a panel data. We also apply factor analysis to create a synthetic indicator for mental well-being. We find that, whichever mental well-being measure is used, bereavement of a family causes poor mental health conditions to a significant extent, and associated distraction following bereavement have adverse impacts on labor market outcomes for elderly Americans.

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