Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2012:23: The economics of grief

Gerard J. van den Berg (), Petter Lundborg and Johan Vikström
Additional contact information
Gerard J. van den Berg: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Petter Lundborg: Lund University
Johan Vikström: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: We study the short-run and long-run economic impact of one of the largest losses that an individual can face; the death of a child. We utilize unique merged registers on the entire Swedish population, combining information on the date and cause of death with parents' labour market outcomes, health outcomes, marital status, and subsequent fertility. We exploit the longitudinal dimension of the data and deal with a range of selection issues. We distinguish between effects on labor and various non-labor income components and we consider patterns over time. We find that labor market effects are persistent.

Keywords: Bereavement; labor supply; child mortality; depression; sickness absenteeism; employment; marriage; death; divorce; mental health; fertility

JEL-codes: C41; I11; I12; J12; J14

52 pages, December 4, 2012

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