The Influence of Psychological Well-Being, Ill-Health and Health Shocks on Single Parents’ Labour Supply

AuthorsAlan Duncan, Anthony Harris, Mark Harris, Eugenio Zucchelli
PublishedJuly 2013
PublisherCurtin University
Number of Pages35

This paper proposes a discrete-choice behavioural model of labour supply to examine the role of ill-health on single parents’ employment. The model provides estimates of individual preferences over a given set of labour market states and allows these preferences to be influenced by a measure of mental health, a latent health index purged of reporting bias and various measures of health shocks. Exploiting longitudinal data from the HILDA Survey, we find that psychological well-being, ill-health and health shocks significantly influence single parents’ marginal disutility of work and marginal utility of income. Further, we apply behavioural microsimulation methods to estimate the likely labour supply responses among single parents in Australia from restricting eligibility to access disability support via the Australian Disability Support Pension (DSP) scheme. Our simulation exercise reveals that imposing tighter DSP eligibility rules has a moderate but positive effect on single mothers’ employment.