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Chronic Illness and Labor Market Participation in Arab Countries: Evidence from Egypt and Tunisia

Ebaidalla Ebaidalla and Mohammed Ali

No 1229, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: This study examines the effect of chronic illness on labor force participation in Egypt and Tunisia, using Labor Market Panel Surveys for both Egypt (ELMPS 2012) and Tunisia (TLMPS 2014). The study also investigates the reverse effect of labor force participation on incidence of chronic diseases. The endogeneity of chronic disease in labor force participation equation is addressed by estimating both chronic and labor force participation equations simultaneously using two-step instrumental variable probit models. In addition, the sample selection bias in labor participation force equation is addressed using Heckman selection procedure, as a robustness check. Moreover, we examined whether non-workers over reports their chronic illness status by adopting the Kredier’ procedure of measurement biasness. Expectedly, across all specifications, the results indicate that chronic illnesses have a negative and significant effect on labor force participation for both Egypt and Tunisia. However, for the feedback effect, the results reveal that labor force participation has no significant effect on chronic illness, rejecting the so-called justification hypothesis for both Egypt and Tunisia. Furthermore, the analysis of measurement biasness in chronic illness shows that non-workers over report their chronic illness status in the two countries. Finally, the paper ends with some recommendations that aim to reduce the effect of chronic illness on labor force participation in Arab countries.

Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2018-10-10, Revised 2018-10-10
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