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CEP discussion paper

The Impact of Chernobyl on Health and Labour Market Performance


Using longitudinal data from Ukraine we examine the extent of any long-lasting effects of radiation exposure from the Chernobyl disaster on the health and labour market performance of the adult workforce. The variation in the local area level of radiation fallout from the Chernobyl accident is considered as a random exogenous shock with which to try to establish its causal impact on poor health, labour force participation, hours worked and wages. There appears to be a significant positive association between local area-level radiation dosage and perception of poor health, though much weaker associations between local area-level dosage and other specific self-reported health conditions. There is also some evidence to suggest that those more exposed to Chernobyl-induced radiation have significantly lower levels of labour market performance twenty years on.


Hartmut Lehmann and Jonathan Wadsworth

May 2011     Paper Number CEPDP1052

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Labour markets programme.