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The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on Health and Living Standards in Turkey: Evidence from Structural Equation Modelling and Regression Discontinuity Design

Giovanis, Eleftherios and Ozdamar, Oznur and Özdaş, Burcu (2020) The Effect of Unemployment Benefits on Health and Living Standards in Turkey: Evidence from Structural Equation Modelling and Regression Discontinuity Design. Working Paper. The Economic Research Forum (ERF).

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Abstract

Unemployment can negatively affect individuals, their families and communities in various ways. When individuals are out of work may experience mental and physical health problems, material deprivation and poverty. This study aims to examine the impact of unemployment benefits on health and living standards in Turkey. We employ a structural equation modelling (SEM) to take into account the simultaneous relations among the latent variables of health and Standard of Living (SoL). Additionally, we propose a fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design (FRDD) within the SEM framework to infer for causality. For the empirical analysis we use the panel Income and Living Conditions Survey (ILCS) over the period 2007-2015. Our findings suggest that those who receive these benefits are more likely to report higher levels of health and improve their living standards compared to the non-recipients. Our results indicate a large heterogeneity on the impact of unemployment benefits, as males, low educated individuals and those belonging in the lower levels of income are affected more in terms of their health status and living standards. The majority of earlier studies have focused on the impact of unemployment benefits on labour outcomes. The originality of this study is that we implement the FRDD within the SEM framework to explore simultaneously the impact of unemployment insurance on heath and living standards. Moreover, this framework can be applied in future research studies to infer causality and explore the impact of policies and reforms.

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