Interactions of Work and Health: An Economic Perspective

Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS)


A growing part of empirical microeconomics papers studies the interaction between employment and health. This literature tries to disentangle the two-way causal relationship. On one hand, the health status influences the employment position and, at the same time, working affects, positively or negatively, the health status. The literature concludes that a favorable work environment and high job security lead to better health conditions. Being employed with appropriate working conditions plays a protective role on physical health and psychiatric disorders. By contrast, nonemployment and retirement are generally worse particularly for mental health in reference to employment. In addition, overemployment has a negative effect on health. These findings stress the importance of job sustainability for the health of workers. Thus, in most developed countries, labor-market policy has increasingly paid attention to job sustainability and job satisfaction. The literature clearly invites employers to take better account of the worker preferences when setting the number of hours worked. Overall, a combination of high employment protection, job satisfaction, decision latitude, and active labor-market policies is likely to have a positive effect on health.


Working conditions Employment Job insecurity Mental health 

JEL Codes

I18 I28 J28 J81 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Paris-Est Créteil, ERUDITECréteilFrance

Section editors and affiliations

  • Akizumi Tsutsumi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthKitasato University School of MedicineSagamiharaJapan

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