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Unemployment Insurance and Physical Activity

Jonathan Cylus

A chapter in Human Capital and Health Behavior, 2017, vol. 25, pp 245-277 from Emerald Publishing Ltd

Abstract: Abstract Unemployment insurance (UI) reduces the opportunity cost of leisure, but it is unknown whether this additional leisure time is physically active. To obtain unbiased estimates of the effect of UI on physically active leisure participation, I exploit changes in UI program legislation across US states and time. Using nationally representative monthly data between 2003 and 2010 from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), I find evidence that both state UI eligibility expansions and increases in maximum allowable state UI benefits coincide with greater probability of physical activity among the recently unemployed. Based on point estimates, state UI eligibility expansions increased the probability of physical activity participation by 8–10 percentage points among the unemployed with less than a high school education, while a 10% increase in the maximum allowable state UI benefit increased the probability of physical activity by 0.3 to 0.6 percentage points among the unemployed who have completed high school or some college.

Keywords: Unemployment; unemployment benefits; physical activity; BRFSS (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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